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HISTORY 


NORTH CAROLINA 


BY 

SAMUEL A’COURT ASHE, LL.D. 


IN TWO VOLUMES 


VOLUME II 

FROM 1783 TO 1925 


The necessitie of a Historie is, as of a Sworne Witness, 
to say the truth (in just discretion) and nothing but 
the truth! — Samuel Purchas, in “Purchas His 
Pilgrimes,’ ’ 1625. 


Presses of 

Edwards & Broughton Printing Company 
RALEIGH 
1925 


B> o, o 6» 4' 


COPYRIGHT, 1925 
BY SAMUEL A. ASHE 


All Rights Reserved 


17 5. G 

CLjQl 5S 

V. g 



DEDICATION 


I dedicate this volume to the memory of my departed friends, 
Henry Groves Connor and James Sprunt, both deservedly esteemed 
as being preeminent among the first citizens of the State, and both, 
besides their remarkable success in their chosen life work, also dis¬ 
tinguished as authors. To them, in one way or another, the possi¬ 
bility of the preparation of this volume is due, and if the work shall 
be deemed of value to the State, to them thanks should be given. 

I inscribe their names here in grateful remembrance of their un¬ 
failing friendship and constant interest in the accomplishment of my 
undertaking. 


S. A. Ashe. 

























. 

» •' ::r; s 

. 

. 










* 





















PROGRESS OF EVENTS 


VOLUME I 

FIRST EPOCH 
Explorations and Colonies 
A.D. 1584—1591. Pages 1—49 

SECOND EPOCH 
Permanent Settlement 
A.D. 1629—1663. Pages 50—87 

THIRD EPOCH 

Proprietary Government 
A.D. 1663—1729. Pages 88—223 

FOURTH EPOCH 

North Carolina as a Royal Province 
A.D. 1729—1765. Pages 224—309 

FIFTH EPOCH 

Controversies With the Mother Country 
A.D. 1765—1775. Pages 310—512 

SIXTH EPOCH 

The War for Independence and the Treaty of Peace 
A.D. 1775—1783. Pages 513—724 




Vlll 


PROGRESS OF EVENTS 


VOLUME II 

SEVENTH EPOCH 

The Developed State 

Social conditions in 1783.—Importation of slaves taxed and in some 
cases forbidden.—The State of Franklin.—The proposed union of states.— 
The separate state. 

A.D. 1783—1789. Chapters 1—7. Pages 1—118 


EIGHTH EPOCH 

In the Union 

North Carolina joins the Union.—Conveys Tennessee to the Union.—The 
university chartered.—Permanent capital established.—Friction with France. 
—Great land frauds.—The Court of Conference.—The new century.—Re¬ 
ligious excitement.—Emigration.—The cotton gin. 

A.D. 1789—1812. Chapters 8—14. Pages 119—223 


NINTH EPOCH 

Efforts for Improvement 

War with Great Britain.—The first cotton mill.—Operations at sea.—Peace. 
—Transportation drawbacks.—Steamboats.—Efforts to improve navigation. 
—Colonization societies.—Supreme Court.—The statue of Washington.— 
Fulton’s work.—The Western Convention.—Sunday schools.—Geological 
Survey. 

A.D. 1813—1824. Chapters 15—18. Pages 222—292 


TENTH EPOCH 

Introduction of Railroads—Constitutional Changes 

The Carlton Letters for schools and railroads.—Internal Improvement 
Convention.—Capitol burned.—Conflicting interests.—Negro insurrection. 
—Railroads introduced.—Agitation by the West for constitutional reform. 
—The State Convention.—The West successful and gains power.—The Gov¬ 
ernor elected by the people.—Biennial sessions.—Negro suffrage abolished. 

A.D. 1825—1836. Chapters 19—23. Pages 293—378 




PROGRESS OF EVENTS 


IX 


ELEVENTH EPOCH 

Improved Conditions 

The public land fund distributed.—Public schools established.—Manufac¬ 
turing begins.—Colleges chartered —Railroads begin.—The Indians removed. 
—The great campaign.—Internal improvements.—Public schools.—War with 
Mexico.—The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad bought by the State. 

A.D. 1836—1848. Chapters 24—28. Pages 379—461 


TWELFTH EPOCH 

General Development 

A turning point.—The North Carolina Railroad chartered.—The C,on- 
servative Democracy weakens.—State aid policy.—Plank roads.—The 
Western North Carolina Railroad and the Atlantic and North Carolina Rail¬ 
road chartered.—Free suffrage.—Slavery question acute.—“Bleeding Kansas.” 
—State development.—Railroad construction. 

A.D. 1848—1858. Chapters 29—32. Pages 462—519 


THIRTEENTH EPOCH 

Agitation Against Slavery 

John Brown’s raid.—The State disturbed.—Industrial and educational 
progress.—The Golden Era.—Northern Democrats and Southern Democrats 
split.—The Republicans elect the President.—The cotton states secede.— 
North Carolina and the border states adhere to the Union. 

A.D. 1858—1860. Chapters 33—34. Pages 318—546 


FOURTEENTH EPOCH 

The Southern Confederacy 

The Peace Conference.—Congress proposes a constitutional amendment. 
—President Lincoln inaugurated.—Inaugurates war.—North Carolina sides 
with the South.—The great and prolonged contest.—The North victorious. 

A.D. i860—1865. Chapters 35—59. Pages 547—1012 





X 


PROGRESS OF EVENTS 


FIFTEENTH EPOCH 
Reconstruction 

The President’s plan.—Holden Provisional Governor.—Convention meets. 
—The State returns to the Union.—Worth Governor.—Congress dissents: 
declares the Southern States conquered; that statehood did not exist; the 
territory part of a military district.—Under military government.—Negro 
suffrage imposed.—A convention called.—New constitution adopted.—Holden 
Governor.—The State admitted to the Union. 

A.D. 1865—1868. Chapters 60—63. Pages 1013—1091 

SIXTEENTH EPOCH 
Republican Administration 

Financial disaster.—Social disturbances.—Barn burning.—The Ku Klux. 
—The Kirk war.—Judge Brooks upholds the constitution.—Holden im¬ 
peached.—Resuscitation. 

A.D. 1868—1873. Chapters 64—69. Pages 1092—1161 

SEVENTEENTH EPOCH 
Conservative Administration 

Progress.—County government reformed.—Local option begins.—6,000 
schoolhouses and 6,500 church buildings.—The University reopened.—The 
College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts started.—The Normal and In¬ 
dustrial College for Women.—The Farmers Alliance.—It fuses with Repub¬ 
licans.—Fusion in control.—The Wilmington revolution.—Campaign for 
educational qualification for suffrage.—Great advance in all industries and 
in social conditions. 

A.D. 1874—1900. Chapters 69—72. Pages 1162—1223 

EIGHTEENTH EPOCH 
Democratic Administration 

Quietude and harmony restored.—Prohibition.—Increased population.— 
Strenuous efforts made for education.—The functions of government ex¬ 
panded.—Industries springing up.—Electricity introduced.—Property values, 
earnings and incomes largely increased.—Weakness giving place to strength. 

War with Germany.—Great efforts of Governor Bickett and the entire 
State.—All vie in patriotic action.—North Carolinians in the war on land 
and at sea.—Their glorious record.—The era of automobiles.—Good roads. 
—The new life.—Great expenditures for schools, buildings and State insti¬ 
tutions and tremendous expansion of industries.—Department of Revenue. 
—Executive Budget.—Improved conditions.—Duke University. 

The North manifests appreciation of the patriotism of the South.—The 
prosperous State and happy people. 

A. D. 1901—1925. Chapters 73—78. Pages 1224—1353 




MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS 


Facing 

The Academy -at Salem (1803) . 162 

The Albemarle, ironclad . 884 

The Old Capitol, 1793, Canova’s statue of Washington. 144 

The New Capitol, 1840 . 360 

Cotton Mill, Schenck-Hoke at Lincolnton, the first at the South, 1813.... 230 

Cotton Mill, Fries at Salem, 1837 . 230 

Loom and spinning jenny . 230 

Map of Battle of Bentonville. 980 

Eastern Carolina . 664 

Fall of Fort Fisher . 940 

Territory Richmond to Fredericksburg. 728 

Maryland Campaign . 742 


PORTRAITS 


Vance, Zebulon B., Unionist till call for troops; War Governor; 


U. S. Senator . Frontispiece 

Andrews, Alexander Boyd, Vice President Southern Railway .1090 

Ashe, Thomas S., Unionist till call for troops; Representative in Con¬ 
federate States and United States Congress; jurist.1034 


Ashe, Wjlliam S., author North Carolina Railroad Bill; President of 
W. and W. Railroad; major in charge of Confederate transportation.... 476 
Avery, Isaac E’rwin, Colonel, in death illustrates spirit of Southland—.1012 
Aycock, Charles B., Governor; urgent promoter of education.1224 


Badger, George E., Senator; Unionist till call for troops; offered ordi¬ 


nance of secession . 590 

Barringer, Rufus, urgent for N. C. Railroad; great cavalry general. 476 

Battle, Kemp P., Unionist. Revives University; then first President.1224 

Berry, Hattie Morehead, created atmosphere for good roads.1314 

Bickett, Thomas W., efficient World War Governor.1256 

Bickett, Mrs. T. W. (Fannie Yarborough), leader in progress, social 

service and many patriotic activities.1256 

Biggs, Asa, Senator; Judge United States and Confederate States Courts..1202 
Bragg, Thomas, Governor; Senator; opposed to secession; Confederate 

States Attorney General . 634 

Branch, Lawrence O’B., General. 820 

Bridgers, Robert R., President Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.1090 

Brooks, George W., Unionist; United States judge; maintains civil law....1116 

Caldwell, Joseph P., editor of Charlotte Observer.1202 

Carr, Julian S., early manufacturer.1256 

Clark, Henry T., acting War Governor... 634 

Clark, Walter, Chief Justice, author.1202 






























Xll 


MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS 


Facing 

Connor, Henry Groves, eminent jurist; admired citizen; author.1328 

Cotten, Sallie Southall, early woman organizer; author.1192 

Cowan, Robert H., President Wilmington and Charlotte Railroad; influen¬ 
tial in public action .1034 

Cox, William R., General; fired last volley at Appomattox. 820 

Craven, Braxton, President and founder of Trinity College... 408 

Daniels, Josephus, editor; Secretary of the Navy in the World War; 

author . 1280 

Davis, George, Peace Conference; Confederate States Senator; Con¬ 
federate States Attorney General . 634 

Dobbin, James C., Secretary of the Navy; orator; eminent citizen. 504 

Dudley, Edward B., first railroad president; Governor; progressive. 306 

Duke, James Buchanan, manufacturer; developed electricity; established 

Duke University and other foundations.1332 

Duke, Washington, early manufacturer.1188 

Ellis, John W., jurist; Governor when State sided with the South. 634 

Erwin, William A., cotton manufacturer whose mill villages are ideal....1188 

Fisher, Charles F., railroad president; colonel; killed at Manassas. 686 

Fries, Miss Adelaide L., author; translator of Moravian Records; Pres¬ 
ident Historical Association .1814 

Gaston, William, eminent jurist and revered citizen. 306 

Gilmer, John A., influential leader; devoted Unionist; would go down 

on his knees to Lincoln not to begin war.1. 590 

Graham, William A., Governor; favored North Carolina Railroad; Sec¬ 
retary of the Navy; devoted Unionist until call for troops; Confederate 

States Senator .-..-. 476 

Graves, Calvin, Speaker of the Senate; gave casting vote for North 

Carolina Railroad . 416 

Grimes, Bryan, Major General; brilliant career; Cox’s brigade of Grimes’s 

Division fired last volley at Appomattox. 820 

Hawkins, William J., President Raleigh and Gaston Railroad.1090 

Hill, Daniel H., Lieutenant General . 686 

Hobbs, Mrs. Mary Mendenhall, educator; urgent for education of women..1314 
Holden, William W., influential editor; Governor in troublous times; 

impeached ..1116 

Holt, Edwin M., first large manufacturer of cotton goods in State.1188 

Hoke, Robert F., Major General; highly esteemed by Lee; victor at 

Plymouth; distinguished at Bentonville . 686 

Jarvis, Thomas J., Governor; leader in progress.1034 

Jerman, Mrs. Palmer, President State Federation of Women’s Clubs; 
President of Legislative Council; delegate to National Democratic 

Convention .1314 

Johnson, Mrs. Kate Burr, first Commissioner of Board of Charities and 
Public Welfare .1314 





























MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS 


xm 


Facing 

Joyner, Janies Y., Superintendent of Public Instruction; leader in educa¬ 
tional movement .-.1224 

Kingsbury, Theodore B., prominent in literature; editor of the Wil¬ 
mington Star . 1202 

Kitchin, Claude, Democratic leader of House of Representatives during 

the World War .-.1280 

Mclver, Charles D., promoter of education; founder and President of 

State College for Women .1224 

McKimmon, Mrs. Charles, a great benefactor of the State in Home 

Demonstration .1314 

McLean, Angus W., Governor; introduced reforms; allowed unusual 

powers . 1332 

MacRae, Hugh, successful promoter of valuable enterprises.1256 

Mangum, Willie P., jurist; United States Senator . 504 

Martin, James G., Adjutant General; organized and prepared the North 

Carolina troops in 1861-62. 634 

Meredith, Thomas, editor of Baptist Interpreter (afterwards Biblical 
Recorder) ; author of first Constitution of Baptist State Convention.... 504 
Merrimon, Augustus S., Unionist until call for troops; United States 

Senator; Chief Justice . 590 

Mitchell, Elisha, first State Geologist; distinguished educator. 306 

Moore, Bartholomew F., Unionist; great lawyer... 590 

Morehead, John M., Governor; builder of railroads. 476 

Moore, Mrs. Marinda Branson, author of school books during the war....1192 
Morrison, Cameron, Governor; brought to the State the era of hard 

surfaced highways and many improvements.1332 

Morrison, Robert Hall, the first president of Davidson; his daughters 
married Stonewall Jackson, Generals Hill and Barringer, and Judge 

Avery . 408 

Murphey, Archibald D., jurist; preceptor of many distinguished public 

men; the most progressive statesman of his generation. 306 

Overman, Lee S., Senator of great usefulness, especially in World War....1280 
Page, Frank, successful builder of 5,000 miles of hard-surfaced roads 

of untold value to the State .1332 

Pender, William D., Major General; highly esteemed by Lee. 686 

Pettigrew, J. Johnston, Major General; highly esteemed by Lee; led in 

the charge at Gettysburg. 686 

Pearson, Richmond M., Chief Justice of great learning.1116 

Poe, Clarence, editor of the Progressive Farmer; bringing great im¬ 
provement to the State .1314 

Pritchard, Jeter C., United States Senator; Judge of United States 
Circuit Court; very highly esteemed.1202 
























XIV 


MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS 


Facing 

Ransom, Matthew W., orator; General; United States Senator; Minister 

to Mexico . 820 

Reid, David S., author of “Free Suffrage”; Governor; U. S. Senator. 504 

Reilley, Mrs. J. Eugene, a leader in the social elevation of women.1286 

Reynolds, Richard J., successful manufacturer ...1286 

Robertson, Mrs. Lucy H., President of Greensboro College for Women....1314 
Ruffin, Thomas, great Chief Justice; Unionist; opposed to secession until 

call for troops . 504 

Saunders, William L., publicist of ability; Editor Raleigh Observer; 

collector and editor of Colonial Records.1034 

Scales, Alfred M., General; Governor, particularly venerated. 820 

Settle, Thomas, Unionist until call for troops; orator; jurist of fine 

capacity and influence . 590 

Shotwell, Randolph A., a martyr of Ku Klux times; editor.1116 

Simmons, Furnifold M., successful leader against Fushion; successful 
in establishing educational test for suffrage; Democratic leader in 

United States Senate during the World War.1280 

Spencer, Cornelia, eminent author and of wide influence.1192 

Sprunt, James, creator of great commerce; author; eminent citizen.1328 

Stedman, Charles M., esteemed citizen; the last Confederate in Congress..1280 
Swain, David L., Governor; instrumental in reforming the constitution 

in 1835; President of the University. 908 

Tiernan, Mrs. F. C. (Miss Fisher; Christian Reid), author.1192 

Tompkins, David A., manufacturer and promoter of manufacturing.1188 

Turner, Josiah, Jr., Union man until the call for troops; editor; violent 

in opposition to Reconstruction regime...1116 

Van Landingham, Mrs. M. O., devoted to stimulating the culture of 

woman .1286 

Waddell, James Iredell, the last Confederate in arms; surrendered the 

Shenandoah to Great Britain in August, 1865.1012 

Wait, Samuel, the first President of Wake Forest College.'. 408 

Wheeler, John H., author of History of the State.1192 

Wilson, James, famous engineer in railroad construction.1090 

Wiley, Calvin H., first Superintendent of Public Instruction; author. 408 

Winder, John C., military engineer; constructor of railroads, etc.1090 

Winston, George T., President University and A. & M. College; gave 

impulse to educational awakening .1224 

Woody, Mary C., of Guilford College .1286 

Worth, Jonathan, Union man until the call for troops; Governor; 
esteemed citizen .1034 




























INTRODUCTION 


•At the period this volume of the history of North Carolina operfs 
the State was under the government established by the Constitution 
adopted in 1776, with perfect autonomy, but was in association with 
the other states forming the Confederacy. The struggle for inde¬ 
pendence had closed and, in the treaty of peace signed in September 
1783, Great Britain formally acknowledged North Carolina and each 
of her sister states separately and particularly to be “free, sovereign 
and independent states.” 

Alexander Martin was Governor; Ashe, Spencer and Williams were 
the Judges; Hawkins, Nash, Williamson and Spaight were the dele¬ 
gates to the Continental Congress. 























. 

























. 




























V* 































HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA 


THE DEVELOPED STATE 
1783-1924 


CHAPTER I 

Social Conditions in 1783 

Social conditions in 1783.—The general condition of the com¬ 
monwealth.—No transportation facilities.—The animosity against 
the Tories.—The absence of currency.—No facilities for dissemin¬ 
ating information.—The County Courts.—Their social features.— 
Their educational value.—Courts of Equity established.—The low 
state of religion.—Asbury’s estimate of the people.—Patillo’s view. 
—No religious intolerance.—The Church of England becomes the 
Protestant Episcopal Church—The Baptists and Presbyterians.— 
The Methodists.—Conditions promotive of illiteracy.—No public 
schools.—But few private schools.—No printing press.—Social 
culture.—The Masonic Order.—The tone democratic.—The disso¬ 
lution of the Cincinnati.—Keith sets up a print shop and book 
store.—The pamphleteers.—Death of Burke.—The negroes.—The 
master’s right in his slaves.—Few great estates.—The negroes 
attend church.—The slave trade held injurious.—Free negroes as 
Continental soldiers.—They gain the right of suffrage.—Some 
become slave-owners—Some effects of the war. 

Social conditions in North Carolina in the year 1783, the 
year of peace and independence, were Arcadian in their sim¬ 
plicity. The commonwealth, extending far into the wilder¬ 
ness, numbered some 350,000 souls, slaves and free, widely 
scattered, nearly one-tenth beyond the distant mountains; 
with no city—and indeed only a few villages whose popu¬ 
lation reached a thousand; as yet commerce, so long inter¬ 
rupted, had not revived; there were no manufactures save 
the work of the men and women in their homes; but depre¬ 
ciated currency; poor markets and only bad highways; no 




2 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


History 
N. C., 

I, 279 


Non- 

jurors 


newspapers, and not a single printing press; but few schools, 
and religious instruction but scantily supplied—in a word, 
with nought but freedom and farm products, manhood and 
energy. 

Nor were the people entirely united in the bonds of amity 
and friendship. Probably a full third of the white popula¬ 
tion had not espoused the cause of separation and independ¬ 
ence. Early in the struggle a considerable number, un¬ 
willing to take the test oath, had under the stringent laws of 
the State, been forced from their homes and had sought shel¬ 
ter abroad. Later, when Hamilton, a Scotch merchant, and 
MacLeod, a Scotch minister, arranged for the formation of a 
loyal regiment, many repaired to the King’s standard. From 
time to time others joined this regiment; but between the sup¬ 
pression of the Royalists at Moore’s Creek, followed quickly 
by the defeat of the British fleet at Charleston, and the ap¬ 
pearance of Fanning on the upper Cape Fear in 1780, there 
was a period of comparative repose, during which the disaf¬ 
fected adjusted themselves to the prevailing conditions. The 
Assembly, session after session, postponed putting into full 
operation the confiscation acts, and, practicing tolerance and 
conciliation, allowed the Tories to remain unmolested, class¬ 
ing them, along with the Quakers, as “non-jurors,” but im¬ 
posing special taxes on them. 

The bridge between a “non-juror” and a “good and true 
citizen” was opened and made easy to cross; and along with 
Rev. George Micklejohn, James Hunter, Dr. Pyle and many 
other conspicuous Tories who soon took the test oath, men of 
smaller consequence resumed association and fellowship with 
their Whig neighbors. But the harrowing events of 1781, 
when the malcontents under McNeil and Fanning established 
a reign of terror in the Cape Fear region, put an end to toler¬ 
ation. The inhumanities and butcheries of the closing years 
of the long struggle left an indelible mark on the social 
conditions of the State. Fierce resentment and implacable 
hatred took possession of the contending factions; and when 




REPAIRING WASTE OF WAR 


3 


the British Army withdrew many of the Tories departed, 
some going to Florida and some to Nova Scotia, where the 
negroes carried off by the British also were located, while 
others sought new homes in the distant west, even crossing 
the mountains and establishing themselves in the outskirts 
of the western settlements. It was in that period of ran¬ 
corous animosity that the former policy of conciliation was 
abandoned and measures were taken to enforce the confisca¬ 
tion laws; and thus'when blessed peace came there were 
mingled with the peans of victory loud execrations of the 
hated Tories. 

The waste of the war had not yet been overcome. Espe¬ 
cially in the Cape Fear counties had the destruction been 
great; and so many families there were in dire need that by a 
general law they were to be exempt from the payment of 
taxes in the discretion of the county justices. Elsewhere the 
inhabitants were suffering because of the absence of markets 
and of facilities to dispose of the products of their industry, 
but the people were measurably inured to their situation and 
had been so long accustomed to their privations that they 
scarcely realized the hardships. They had known nothing 
better. 

Life offered no field for activity but on the farm and in the 
forests; and clearing new land and making forest products 
were the only openings for energy and enterprise. 

During the war, to supply the necessities of the people as 
well as the needs of the army, bounties had been freely 
offered to stimulate manufactures, but when the occasion had 
passed the bounties ceased. Yet the looms were still busy, 
skins were tanned, and furs secured from otters and beavers, 
and shoemakers and hatters plied their trades. 

At that period factories had not been erected anywhere in 
America; there were no power looms, and only the spinning 
jenny and hand weaving were in use, and nails were still 
made by hand. But so industrious were the people in their 


1783 


Antago¬ 

nisms 


/ 


Industries 




4 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


1783 


Agriculture 


homes that many districts not only clothed themselves, but 
had a surplus of cotton, linen, and woolen cloths for sale. 

In the tidewater regions where naval stores abounded, 
men found profitable employment in making tar, pitch, and 
turpentine, of which the mercantile world stood in great 
need, while lumber and staves were always in demand for 
the West Indies. In colonial days trade with the British 
Islands in the Caribbean sea had brought in a liberal supply 
of specie; but when the State separated herself from the Brit¬ 
ish empire the restrictive navigation laws obstructed that 
commerce.' Yet England soon fostered shipments to her own 
ports, and the London merchants hastened to send their goods 
to markets that were bare of foreign manufactures. 

The great forests of the State, so rich in products, were 
virtually unbroken. While near the coast and in the Albe¬ 
marle regions there were some large plantations, in the in¬ 
terior the holdings were smaller, and the clearings were only 
such as were needed for cultivation. Generally every man 
owned his land, and, as there was no labor for hire, tilled 
his own fields. Back from the markets where there was a 
surplus of corn and grain, hogs and cattle were raised and 
driven on foot for sale. Also in some communities grain 
was converted into whiskey, and the fruits of the orchard 
into brandy. 

Agriculture, the chief occupation of the inhabitants, had 
long received intelligent application, and despite adverse 
conditions presented examples of thrift and skill. At the 
east rice and indigo were grown, as well as flax and cotton; 
while along the water-courses, lumber and staves and naval 
stores were produced. In the upper country where the soil 
and climate were suitable tobacco and the cereals were culti¬ 
vated, and clover was not unknown. Mr. Hooper, a lawyer 
rather than a farmer, wrote to his merchant at Edenton, 
“Send me a barrel of clover seed.” 

But transportation facilities were sadly lacking; and back 
from the rivers the want of good roads was a serious draw- 



CURRENCY PROBLEMS 


5 


back. Public highways had been laid out connecting the 
back country with the several market towns of the east, but 
they could not be maintained in good condition, and the 
northwestern counties found it more convenient to trade with 
Virginia towns, and southwestern with Charleston. The 
exports were tobacco, tar, pitch, turpentine, potash, staves, 
lumber, rice, and provisions, all of these except tobacco alone 
being the products of the east. Indeed transportation to 
market involved such an expense as to largely deprive the 
products of the distant interior of their value. 

Necessarily all sales of products were made to merchants, 
who established themselves at convenient points in the inte¬ 
rior, and setting their own prices, made great gains by their 
bargains. 

Of money there was none; the State as well as the Con¬ 
tinental currency had ceased to have value, and to express 
utter worthlessness the phrase was coined—“not worth a 
continental." Money is not only of value in itself, but it is 
the standard by which the value of other things is measured 
and the chief instrument of commerce by which exchanges 
are made, and the very foundation stone of credit. When 
the State and Continental paper fell, there was virtually 
no specie in circulation. Neither gold nor silver had been 
found in any of the colonies, and the entire country was 
dependent on such foreign coin as could be obtained for 
commodities, and there were but few commodities to send 
abroad. The people were indeed without a currency. In 
the extremity recourse was again had to an issue of State 
bills. At the April meeting of the Assembly a proposition 
to emit new bills, matured by William Blount, met with 
general concurrence. To give the issue a footing of sub¬ 
stantial value a special tax was levied to redeem it, and its 
redemption was further secured by a pledge of all the con¬ 
fiscated property of the Tories held by the State. The cur¬ 
rency of the Revolution had been dollars to distinguish it 
from colonial issues; and now to emphasize that the new 


1783 

Exports 


C. R., XXIV 
475 

The 

currency 

1783 



6 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


No interior 
mails 


The County 
Courts 


issue was on a distinct footing, it was in pounds and shil¬ 
lings, the pound being of the value of two and a half silver 
dollars. The shilling was the same as the Spanish “bit,” 
later twelve and a half cents. The amount was conserva¬ 
tively limited to a hundred thousand pounds. 

There were no buggies, but few coaches, and traveling 
was on horseback, men riding their own horses hundreds 
of miles, and the women seldom visiting out of their neigh¬ 
borhood. The Assembly had established no mail facilities, 
but the post route opened at the beginning of the Revolu¬ 
tion, along the coast, passing through Edenton and New 
Bern and Wilmington, had been continued by Congress and 
was still in operation, but there were no post ridings to the 
interior. Letters were sent by hand. Without means of com¬ 
munication, the dissemination of intelligence among the peo¬ 
ple was slow and unreliable. Information about current 
affairs was acquired by conversations at casual meetings, at 
religious gatherings and the sessions of the county courts. 
Indeed, these quarterly courts had no inconsiderable educa¬ 
tional value. More than any other instrumentality they 
kept the people in touch with civilization. In every dis¬ 
trict of each county there were two or more justices of the 
peace, and constables, and often a deputy sheriff. The jus¬ 
tices were men of responsibility and approved character, and 
around them centered a strong personal influence. They met 
quarterly at the courthouse and administered the public af¬ 
fairs of the county. They laid taxes, appointed officers, 
provided for the poor, looked after the orphans and the set¬ 
tlement of estates of deceased persons. They laid off roads, 
appointed the overseers and directed the construction of 
bridges. In a word they exercised all the powers of govern¬ 
ment in matters of local interest in the several neighborhoods 
of the county. Also, they tried offenses against the law and 
civil suits between litigants. Necessarily they were attended 
by many jurors, witnesses and parties interested in their 
proceedings. Others with no particular business likewise 



COUNTY COURTS 


7 


attended from a desire of intercourse with fellow-men; and 
so those occasions thus drew great crowds together, and at 
such times private accounts were settled, trades were made, 
and ordinarily there was much swapping of horses, and oc¬ 
casional trials of speed, for the people dearly loved a horse 
race; also, there were more or less drinking and carousing, 
and contests, friendly and otherwise, of personal prowess. 
It was always a field day when court met. But apart from 
the social side of such meetings, in addition to these oppor¬ 
tunities of social intercourse, there was a distinct value in 
training the people in respect for law, and in educating them 
in local administration, in legal processes and in matters of 
public concern. Many a man who could read no word in a 
book knew well the common law of the land, knew private 
rights and wrongs, knew nice distinctions and could weigh 
with unerring judgment the value of evidence. As deficient 
in schooling as the Barons of Runnymede, they had intelli¬ 
gence trained by experience into practical wisdom. 

In 1783 the system of judicature was perfected by invest¬ 
ing the Superior Court judges with equity jurisdiction, such 
as the Court of Chancery had under the Crown, but which 
had not been exercised by any court since the Revolution. 
There was, however, a provision that no final decree should 
be entered except when two judges were present. Now, 
the hardships of strict law were mitigated by an appeal 
to conscience, and while the judges might enter a judg¬ 
ment in the law court, sitting in equity, they could enjoin its 
execution. 

Religion, the traditional inheritance of the race, meas¬ 
urably entered into the lives of the people who, however, 
were generally neither warmly attached to doctrine nor very 
demonstrative in their zeal. Francis Asbury noted in his 
Journal in April, 1780, that he preached in Halifax County 
to about five hundred persons—and “the people were sol¬ 
emnly attentive." A few days later, he found “people were 


Courts of 

equity 


Religion 



8 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


1 " 80 for the ordinances, though not heated.” At the Tabernacle, 

about four hundred attended:—“The people very insensi¬ 
ble. I think these people must be awakened by judgment, for 
it appears the gospel will not do it”; on Sunday at Green 
Hill’s, Franklin County, O’Kelly “raised high, and was very 
affecting, but to little purpose. There are evils here,—the 
meeting not solemn: the women appeared to be full of dress; 
the men full of news. The people are gospel slighters: I 
fear some heavy stroke will come on them.” Somewhat 
later Rev. Henry Patillo, a learned and observant Presby¬ 
terian minister, a man of great liberality and thoroughly 
imbued with a spirit of Christianity, wrote: “As to our 
young people, and others not well settled in their principles 
joining with other professions, and particularly the Metho¬ 
dists, I would just observe that this seems to be the versatile 
season with America; and a change of religious profession 
has become almost as common and as little noted as the vari¬ 
ations of the weather in this most changeable climate.” 

This zealous Presbyterian also mentioned having received 
warm, friendly letters from the Methodists—whose bias nat¬ 
urally was towards the Church of England—“expressing 
c. R., xxiv, their wishes to cultivate a nearer intercourse, and that bigotry 
might cease among Christians”; nor were the Baptists of a 
different mind, for he likewise pointed to “the friendly inter¬ 
course that subsists between the Baptists and us in all re¬ 
spects, except communion, known and acknowledged by all.” 
Altogether, the picture he presents is free from the baneful 
spirit of religious intolerance. Indeed no zealous attach¬ 
ment to doctrine can be observed, but, rather, there was an 
expressed desire of Christian fellowship. Doubtless in those 
years when the denominations were unorganized and when 
there was an insufficient number of ministers, there was a 
loosening of religious ties and an indisposition to adhere 
closely to doctrine; but the seeds of piety had been sown and 
were planted in a fruitful soil, even if they lay dormant for 


a season. 



PASTORLESS CHURCHES 


9 


In colonial days the Church of England had in some meas¬ 
ure been organized in the eastern counties, especially near the 
Virginia line, but as constituted, upon the declaration of 
independence it was a solecism and out of place in the col¬ 
onies. A portion of the National Church of England, with 
the rubric of the Book of Common Prayer requiring a prayer 
for the King, it did not fit the new conditions. Its mem¬ 
bers had been foremost in asserting their political rights, 
and under their leadership, chiefly, the Revolution had been 
begun and brought to a successful close. Notwithstanding 
the separation from England, by them it continued to be re¬ 
garded as the Apostolic church, and they remained true to 
their faith and devotedly attached to the rites, ceremonies 
and practices of “the church.” While the position of the 
laymen was thus peculiar, that of the ministers, being under 
the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, was full of embar¬ 
rassment. One of them, Rev. Mr. Wills, at Wilmington, 
withdrew from his charge in 1775, although he remained 
on the Cape Fear and performed the marriage service and 
perhaps other rites during- the war. As the • ordination of 
a new minister could be only by the Bishop of London, no 
other was then called, and twenty years elapsed before that 
pulpit was again filled. 

At New Bern, Rev. Mr. Reed, although a Loyalist, con¬ 
tinued to officiate; while the Edenton congregation had the 
services of Rev. Charles Pettigrew, a warm patriot, in the 
place of the Rev. Mr. Earle, who, in 1775, retired to his farm 
in Bertie County, although his sympathies were with the 
people. Rev. George Micklejohn, the pastor at Hillsboro, 
who was taken at Moore’s Creek, remained in the State and 
eventually took the test oath, and after peace was a minister 
in Virginia. The other incumbents are said to have been in 
sympathy with the Revolution and to have continued their 
services without interruption. But on the separation from 
their mother country, there being no method of procuring 
ordination, the power of the organization to perpetuate itself 


Church of 
England 


Vass: 

Presbyterian 
Church, 78 




10 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


1783 


The Baptists 


The Presby¬ 
terians 


The 

Methodists 


ceased. In addition to this drawback the association of the 
church with the English hierarchy and its theoretical connec¬ 
tion with the British government were distinct influences 
adverse to its being regarded with favor by the struggling 
patriots. Its members were as sheep in a wilderness without 
a shepherd. The three orders of ministers were essential 
to its existence, and there was no bishop in America. Natur¬ 
ally it was engulfed in stagnant waters, and years elapsed 
before it revived. In 1783 in Maryland, it assumed the name 
of ‘‘The Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland,” and 
that name was adopted by a General Convention held three 
years later. About the same time the consecration of bishops 
was secured; and that deficiency was supplied. But so weak 
were its adherents in North Carolina that year after year 
passed without any effort at organization, and when efforts 
were made, about 1790, they failed of success. 

Nor were the other denominations, in the eastern counties, 
in a much more vigorous condition. Although there were a 
few Presbyterian congregations on the waters of the Cape 
Fear, in 1783 there seems to have been no minister of that 
faith east of Granville. The Baptists, however, were better 
settled, and there were Baptist ministers, especially in the 
northern counties, each congregation being separate and in¬ 
dependent. Farther west the Baptists were still more 
flourishing; and there also the Presbyterians were well estab¬ 
lished, having at the end of the Revolution about a dozen 
pastors actively at work—men of high repute, and teachers as 
well as preachers to their flocks. In 1770 Orange Presbytery 
had been organized, and in 1788 the Synod of the Carolinas 
was formed. It was in that year that Rev. Mr. Patillo, who 
was located in Granville, published at Wilmington, his 
volumes of sermons. He also published an interesting vol¬ 
ume on geography, printed in 1790, at Halifax, by Hodge. 

The first Methodist Societies organized in North Carolina 
looked to Rev. Mr. Wesley as their head, and recognized the 
authority of the ministers of the Church of England; and, 



PIONEER PREACHERS 


ii 


indeed, they were regarded as being within the fold of that 
church. Dr. Coke was of that communion, and the first 
Methodist to preach in the State, James Pilmoor, after¬ 
wards became an Episcopal minister in New York. Like the 
Church of England, the Methodists suffered some detriment 
because of the conflict with the mother county, whence had 
emanated the influences that established and controlled the 
societies; but in 1784, at a Conference held at Baltimore, a 
new, distinct and separate organization was adopted. Yet 
notwithstanding the Methodists thus severed connection with 
the Protestant Episcopal Church, Christian fellowship was 
still maintained. 

In 1780 Francis Asbury had traveled through the northern 
central counties, visiting the societies that had been estab¬ 
lished, and the year after the new organization he and Dr. 
Coke held at Green Hill’s house, Franklin County, the first 
Conference. But despite the zeal and activity of the minis¬ 
ters, the growth of the Methodists, like that of the other de¬ 
nominations, was slow in the State. The people in many com¬ 
munities of the center and east had lived so long without 
regular ministrations that they had become somewhat in¬ 
different to the formalisms and doctrines of church organi¬ 
zations. The Quakers and Moravians, being men of peace, 
had not suffered much during the war, but rather had reaped 
the reward of their steady habits and productive industry. 
The German Lutherans, whose church services were still 
in German, however, felt the effects of the war, like their 
neighbors, the Scotch-Irish. 

Unhappily, conditions in general were promotive of illit¬ 
eracy, for educational facilities were meager and insufficient. 
The proposition to establish a public school in every county, 
made during Governor Dobbs’s administration, had come to 
naught because some English merchants objected to the issue 
of currency proposed for that purpose; and Governor Dobbs 
having omitted to inform the Assembly of the particular 
objection, the obstacle was never removed. 


First 

conference 




12 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


Dickson’s 
Letters, 31 


The subject thus passed out of view and no further effort 
was made for general education at public expense. There 
were some private schools, but they were inadequate for the 
general education of the people. Yet the condition was not 
so bad but that it could be worse; and apparently it became 
worse. In 1826 Governor Burton urged on the Assembly: 
“Many enlightened persons believe that it is more difficult 
for an individual in ordinary circumstances to obtain for his 
child, at this time, the common rudiments of education than 
it was at the period when our Constitution was adopted.” 

Although there was a constitutional provision requiring 
the establishment of public schools, and also of a university, 
yet the provision was long inoperative. No general system 
of public instruction had been introduced anywhere except 
alone in Massachusetts; and circumstances were adverse to 
its inauguration in North Carolina. Education by the State 
has been a development of a more recent period. It was not 
then demanded by the spirit of the times. The scarcity of 
money made it difficult to pay taxes, and there was a general 
reluctance to pay public dues; but more than all, the isolated 
lives of the separate farmers, residing in sparsely settled 
neighborhoods, led them to be indifferent to education. In¬ 
deed, as Dickson expressed it, “the genius of the people was 
not adapted to the study of learning and science. The objects 
they had in view were money and pleasure.” 

There were no magazines, no newspapers, or story books 
to stir the mind, to nourish the imagination, to exercise the 
mental faculties. Acquaintance with the art of reading and 
writing but little enlarged the horizon of life or added to the 
zest of living. In that primitive condition of existence, such 
education as could be obtained was of slight service in the 
daily routine of farm work, and was not felt to be indis¬ 
pensable, either for its usefulness or as contributing to 
recreation in the family circle. The labors of the day were 
not supplemented by intellectual pleasures. A considerable 
number of the poorer settlers probably had been without the 



ILLITERACY 


i3 


rudiments of an education, and illiteracy was on the increase 
among that portion of the inhabitants. An essayist, writing 
of Caswell County, says: “Between 1775 an d 1800 a com¬ 
mon English education—to read, write and cypher, was ob¬ 
tained by only one-half of the people of that county.” Else¬ 
where it was largely the same. The absence of public schools 
bore heavily on the social condition of the interior. Yet 
there were individual efforts to maintain primary schools and 
even academies. At every session of the Assembly some new 
academy was incorporated, and trustees appointed to manage 
its affairs; but necessarily the influence of these was limited 
largely to the vicinity of the villages where they were situ¬ 
ated and to those more prosperous families that had always 
enjoyed the advantages of education, for in every county and 
settlement there were then as now, some families of education 
who knew its value and fully appreciated its beneficial in¬ 
fluences, and no sacrifice was accounted too great to obtain 
it for the children. 

In that period of isolation when there was so little room 
for intellectual effort, the art of letter writing was practiced 
by few, and, other than the public records, the memorials 
of the time are scant and meager. Nor has the small stock 
of what survived the uses of the day been carefully guarded. 
Williamson, Martin, Murphey, Hooper, and others sought, in 
succeeding generations, to gather up the scattered fragments 
for historical purposes, but their collections have all disap¬ 
peared. McRee later performed a grateful service in pub¬ 
lishing the correspondence of Iredell, and, if we may judge 
from the elegant diction and refined sentiments of that cor¬ 
respondence, even in the darkest hours there were circles 
here and there throughout the State, of a high order of 
social culture and literary merit. 

Nor were there lacking the beneficial influences attending 
the order of the Masonic fraternity, which, established early 
in colonial life, was revived after the war. On the death, in 
1776, of Grand Master Joseph Montfort, who held under 


Coon, 1-64 


Letters 


The Masons 



14 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


Haywood : 
Beginnings 
of Freema¬ 
sonry in 
N. C., 14 


The Cin¬ 
cinnati 


S. R„ 

XVIV, 793 


Davis: N. C. 
Society of 
Cincinnati, 
53-55 


A ruling 
class 


authority of a British commission, the Grand Lodge ceased 
for twenty years; but in 1787 representatives from ten 
lodges met at Tarboro, and, setting up an independent 
authority, elected Samuel Johnston Grand Master. Caswell, 
Davie and many of the other leading men of the day were 
members. Since then the order has always been a factor in 
the life of the people. 

The general tone of society was more democratic and less 
aristocratic than either in Virginia or in South Carolina. 
But the form of government, a representative republic, was 
somewhat calculated to foster a class distinction. The ab¬ 
sence of great fortunes tended to suppress social pretensions 
based on wealth and not founded on personal worth, public 
service and popular applause; and there was a jealousy of 
other distinction. An indication of the prevailing sentiment 
may be gathered from the speedy dissolution of the patriotic 
order of the Cincinnati. This order was organized in the 
State by the Continental officers at Hillsborough in October, 
1783, General Jethro Sumner being chosen President. In 
the Assembly, a year later, a petition was presented against 
the order by General John Butler, who introduced a bill 
to render any member of it ineligible to a seat in the Assem¬ 
bly. His measure did not pass, but the opposition to the so¬ 
ciety was so strong as to control the action of the former 
Continental officers, to whom it was imputed that they de¬ 
signed to establish themselves as a peerage. On the death 
of General Sumner he was succeeded by Colonel John B. 
Ashe; but after a few years the society informally dissolved. 
Notwithstanding this democratic tendency, the Assemblymen 
virtually formed a class of rulers. They were generally men 
of substance in their counties, who drew around themselves 
such strong influences that they were almost continuously 
reelected to their seats. They elected all the great officers, 
and determined the policy of the State. Doubtless they were 
not inattentive to public opinion, which, however, they exer¬ 
cised a great power in forming; and although advocates of 




PRINTING PRESS 


15 


a democracy, they were measurably the ruling class in the 
State. It is much to their credit that legislation was sound, 
liberal and judicious, and the Assembly always responded 
to suggestions tending to the general welfare. In addition, 
it may be said that the Assembly generally recognized merit, 
and there was a liberality of sentiment illustrated in the elec¬ 
tion to high office of men but recently settled in the State and 
unsupported by great family influence. 

The need of a printing press was keenly felt, and in the 
summer of 1783 Robert Keith set up one at New Bern, and 
in August he issued the first number of the North Carolina 
Gazette. There had been no newspapers published in the 
State in several years and the advent of this was hailed with 
interest and satisfaction. The office was “near the church 
where the subscriptions, essays and articles of intelligence 
are gratefully received.” It was on a demy sheet, with clear 
type, and was offered for three Spanish milled dollars per 
annum. One of the printer lads was Francis Xavier Martin, 
a French boy, who had been stranded at New Bern. Con¬ 
nected with his printing office, Keith opened a book store 
and offered to the public Edwards on Original Sin, Baker 
on the Divine Attributes, a choice collection of hymns; and, 
for the use of schools, Testaments, spelling books, primers 
and writing paper. Quills alone were used for writing. The 
opening of a print shop speedily led to publications. No 
longer was it necessary for the pamphleteers to circulate their 
manuscripts by sending them from town to town by trusty 
messengers to secure safe delivery and preservation. 

In the fall, Judge Spencer, over the signature of Atticus, 
printed an article on the Constitution, probably discussing 
the Loyalist, and John Hay, as Tiberius Gracchus, put out 
in a six-penny pamphlet an essay which in manuscript he had 
read to a coterie of admiring friends, ridiculing the Assem¬ 
bly and so violently assailing Judge Sitgreaves that Keith 
had to divulge the author’s name, resulting in a personal al¬ 
tercation. Then Hay and the bench drifted apart. There 


The press 


Weeks: 
Press of 
N. C., 38 


The 

pamphleteers 


McRee: Life 
of Iredell, 

75, 76, 95 



16 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


McRee: Life 
of Iredell, 96 


Death of 
Burke 


McRee: Life 
of Iredell, 83 


The slaves 


Census 1790 


quickly followed a war in which Cusatti, Sully, The Citizen, 
and The True Citizen bore their parts; also Germanicus. 
The Citizen was imputed to Judge Williams and Richard 
Henderson, the polishing touches being given by Governor 
Martin. 

But one printing office did not suffice, and in March, 1784, 
another weekly was begun at Halifax; and perhaps one also 
at Hillsboro; and so disputants had several instruments 
of warfare. No one would have entered with greater zest 
and more caustic pen into these literary controversies than 
the brilliant Irishman, Dr. Burke; but his race was run. In 
December, 1784, that choice spirit passed away. His friend 
Hooper thus announced his melancholy fate: “Dr. Burke 
died about a fortnight since and fell, in some measure, a 
sacrifice to the obstinacy which marked his character through 
life. Laboring under a complication of disorders, oppressed 
with the most agonizing pains, which for months had de¬ 
prived him of his natural rest; and to sum up his misery, no 
domestic prop to lean upon—no friend or companion at his 
home to soothe the anguish of his mind or mitigate the pain 
of his body—was not death to him a comforter, a friend 
and physician?” 

At the peace there were about ninety thousand slaves 
in North Carolina and five thousand free negroes. The lo¬ 
cation of the colored element of population was an incident 
of settlement. The western counties were settled chiefly 
by immigrants coming overland from Pennsylvania. These 
were accompanied by no negroes; and so, few Africans, rel¬ 
atively, were to be found at the west. Near the northern 
line as far as Surry, the settlement was largely from Vir¬ 
ginia, and the planters brought their negroes with them. 
Along the coast, including Brunswick and New Hanover, 
negroes were comparatively numerous; but farther in the in¬ 
terior, where immigrants direct from Europe located, there 
were not so many. The free negroes were found chiefly in 
the older counties, where indeed there were more blacks 



STATUS OF SLAVES 


1 7 


than elsewhere. In 1790 Halifax returned 6,506 slaves and 
446 free negroes. Northampton and Bertie together, 9,650 
slaves and 751 free negroes. In New Hanover and four ad¬ 
jacent counties there were 10,116 slaves and 215 free negroes. 
In Iredell, 846 slaves and 3 free negroes. In colonial times 
free negroes paid taxes like the whites, but could not vote. 
They lived apart and were not allowed free intercourse with 
the slaves. 

Slaves descended as other property. The master’s right to 
rule was complete; but while he could punish, he could not 
take the life of a slave. Slaves could have no right to any 
property—but no one could interfere with them except the 
owner. They were amenable to the law for offenses, but the 
masters often protected them from punishment when charged 
with minor offenses; when one was executed, the owner was 
allowed his value, but in 1786 this practice was discontinued. 
They lived on their master’s premises; and he was required 
to provide for their necessities; to care for them in sickness 
and in age. 

Slaves generally were not allowed to use firearms, but the 
county court, on application of the owner, licensed one slave 
on each plantation to carry a gun for the purpose of protect¬ 
ing the property from depredations. The conduct of the 
farm, the administration and system of work and of living, 
was under the regulation of the master. Some slaves were 
taught to be carpenters, wheelwrights, blacksmiths, coopers 
and shoemakers, and the women to spin and weave. Often 
the farm raised its own wool and cotton, tanned its own 
leather, had its smithy and shop for wood work, and made 
its own shoes and clothing. In all this work, as well as in all 
farm work, some negroes were trained and skilled. Gen¬ 
erally .the farm or plantation was managed by the master, 
and in his absence one of the slaves, as “foreman,” super¬ 
vised the work with orderly precision. 

There were but few great estates in North Carolina. In 
1790, the largest slaveowner, Cullen Pollok, listed on four 
2 


Debates, 
Conv. 1835, 
p. 65 


Their work 



i8 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


The 

slaveholders 


The negroes 
and religion 


plantations 372; Whitewell Hall, 270; Benjamin Luther, 221'; 
Robert Haynes and Thomas Eaton in Warren, each 138. 
The next largest was Willie Jones, with 120; then Mr. Col¬ 
lins, 113; Peter Mallet, 103; and Governor Samuel John¬ 
ston owned 96. Only twelve persons listed 100. Hardly two 
hundred persons had as many as 50. Largely more than half 
the people owned none at all, while hundreds possessed only 
one or two. On the larger plantations the negro families 
had their separate houses, with small gardens attached, 
some distance from the mansion; and had such pleasures 
and recreations as their masters chose to allow. When 
the number of slaves was small they lived near the mansion, 
and were brought into very close association with the white 
family; and, in effect, all constituted a family. The men 
were “men of all work,” and the women and children were 
employed about the domicile. This association had an educa¬ 
tional advantage and tended distinctly to the elevation of 
the negro. Whatever there was of beneficence in the in¬ 
stitution of African slavery thus had, perhaps^ its best de¬ 
velopment in North Carolina, where the country negroes 
seem to have attained a somewhat more advanced condition 
than elsewhere. 

Generally, slaves had such opportunities for religious in¬ 
struction as the condition of the country afforded. Writing 
in 1788, Rev. Mr. Patillo remarked that they composed a 
part of most congregations, and in those under his charge 
there were 150 negro communicants. Very ignorant, they 
were at first taken on trial before admitted to baptism or 
the communion. “In the meantime the black members 
are very diligent with them, instructing them, and narrowly 
inspecting their conduct.” Most masters indulged their 
slaves in liberty of conscience, whether religious or other¬ 
wise, while “pious masters have great disquiet and vexation 
from the untractable and incorrigible temper of their slaves.” 
“Of the religious negroes in my congregation some are en¬ 
trusted with a kind of eldership, so far as to keep a watch- 



SLAVE TRADE 


19 


ful eye over the black members. . . . The great matter of 
scandal among the negroes arises from their marriages or 
matches. Masters are so often selling their slaves, or re¬ 
moving to a distance, that as the creatures generally belong 
to different masters, they are often parted, or their places 
of residence become so distant that they can seldom see 
each other. Many masters, however, will rather exchange 
or sell, than part husband and wife.” A few can read a 
plain book, and many more would learn on Lord’s Day and 
sleeping time if they had spelling books, catechisms, Testa¬ 
ments and Watts’s hymns, as they are peculiarly fond of 
singing.” At that period there was no legal inhibition 
against teaching slaves to read and write. 

Property right in the person of the African slave was the 
law of the New World at the time North Carolina was set¬ 
tled. It was a part of the institutions of every community. 
Incident to it was the slave trade, a commerce that came 
to be reprobated in America earlier than elsewhere. In 
every colony, from the earliest times, there were some in¬ 
dividuals who were opposed both to slavery and the slave 
trade. In August, 1774, the freeholders of Rowan County 
resolved that: “The African slave trade is injurious to 
this colony, obstructs the population of it by freemen, pre¬ 
vents manufacturers and other useful immigrants from 
Europe from settling among us, and occasions an annual in¬ 
crease in the balance of trade against the colony.” • This 
declaration was followed a few days later by a resolution of 
the first Provincial Convention, that “we will not import 01- 
purchase any slave brought into this province from any part 
of the world after the first day of November next.” This 
resolve was observed by the people and enforced by the 
Committee of Safety. The next year Jefferson’s declaration 
“that all men are created equal—” received universal as¬ 
sent, but that evidently had reference to the right to modify 
governments, and had no bearing on the status of the Afri¬ 
can slaves in the colonies. Yet the thought was expressed 


Attitude to 
slavery 


C. R„ IV, 
1026 
1046 




20 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


C. R., XXIV, 
14 


Ibid., 221, 
336 


Free negro 
militia 


C. R., XXIV, 
639 


Debates, 
Conv. 1835, 
p. 65 


Racial 

differences 


and disseminated. Owners had the right of manumission, 
and apparently manumissions were multiplied, while the 
inconveniences of slavery became more pronounced when the 
struggle for independence began and the British sought to 
incite both the Indians and negroes to become their allies. 
At the very first session of the Assembly under the new Con¬ 
stitution, “because of the evil and pernicious practice of 
freeing slaves, at this alarming and critical time, the personal 
right to manumit was taken away, a license from the County 
Court being made requisite, and the court was forbidden to 
grant the license except for ‘meritorious services.’ ” 

Notwithstanding the racial difference, the negroes were a 
part of the population, and could render service—both bond 
and free. During the war the latter were enrolled in the 
militia, and performed military service as other freemen. 
Slaves, like Indians, Hessian deserters and some others, were 
not to be accepted as substitutes for drafted men; but, with 
their master’s consent, they could enlist; and some did enlist 
and rendered faithful service as soldiers in the Continental 
ranks as well as in the State troops. One slave, Ned Griffin, 
of Edgecombe, having under a promise of freedom served 
faithfully for twelve months as a Continental, a special act 
of the Assembly was passed to enfranchise him and “dis¬ 
charge him from the yoke of slavery,” and he was declared 
“a freeman in every respect.” As with him, so was it with 
others;- after the Revolution free negroes became freemen in 
every respect. And thus it came about that they obtained 
the privilege of suffrage, which they enjoyed until the Con¬ 
stitution was amended in 1835. , But their legal status, as 
well as that of the slave, was anomalous, and the Congress of 
the United States at its second session excluded them from 
being enrolled in the militia. Negroes could not give evi¬ 
dence against a white man, and in some respects they were 
not regarded as citizens. But free negroes had property 
rights, and generally speaking had all the benefits of the law. 
Many became men of substance, and they sometimes owned 



IMPORTATION OF SLAVES 


21 


slaves. James Lowry, apparently the progenitor of the out¬ 
law Henry Berry Lowry, was in 1790 the owner of several 
slaves. Many other free negroes likewise were slaveowners. 
One who had served in the Revolution, John Chavis, not only 
was a slaveholder but was a school-teacher, having among 
his pupils some boys who afterwards became men of renown. 
He was also a Presbyterian minister. 

After commerce was reopened slaves were again im¬ 
ported, but in 1786 their importation was declared productive 
of evil consequences and highly impolitic, and in order to 
arrest it a tax of ten pounds was laid on the importation of 
the most able-bodied, with a smaller duty on others. Some 
of the northern states had already taken measures to abolish 
slavery, and their slaves were being sold to southern planters. 
North Carolina did not propose to allow this transfer to her 
territory of negroes who in their own states had the hope of 
freedom, and by act of Assembly it was forbidden to bring 
into North Carolina any slave from any state that had taken 
such a step, and should any be imported contrary to that 
act, they were to be immediately returned to the place from 
which they were brought. While the institution of negro 
slavery was thus perpetuated after the Revolution, yet the 
importation of slaves was regarded as injurious and North 
Carolina was not favorable to a continuance of the slave 
trade. The influence of the Quaker element of the popula¬ 
tion was distinctly against the institution of slavery, and per¬ 
haps the prevalence of such sentiments was a natural result 
of the war itself. 

Indeed the Revolution not only called forth many virtues 
but developed much latent ability. When the war began, 
says Ramsay, the Americans were a mass of husbandmen, 
merchants, mechanics and fishermen; but the necessities of 
the country gave a spring to the active powers of the inhab¬ 
itants, and set them thinking, speaking, and acting, in a 
line far beyond that to which they had been accustomed. It 
seemed as if the war not only required, but created talents. 


Census 1790 


S. R., XXIV, 
793 

1786 


To arrest 
importation 


S. R., XXIV, 
794 


Effects of 
the 

Revolution 



22 


SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1783 


Men, whose minds were warmed with the love of liberty, and 
whose abilities were improved by daily exercise, and sharp¬ 
ened with a laudable ambition to serve their distressed coun¬ 
try, spoke, wrote and acted with an energy far surpassing 
all expectation which could be reasonably founded on their 
previous acquirements. 

The long years of the struggle had been a period of 
great intellectual activity, and the creation and adminis¬ 
tration of government had thoroughly awakened the people 
and vitalized their energies. Great writers were produced, 
great thoughts had penetrated the minds of the masses, 
and heart and soul, body and mind, alike, had been on the 
rack, and tens of thousands of men, bred in solitude, had 
moved over the face of the country, every faculty quickened 
and stimulated and every passion brought often into play. 
Thus, as in all long and arduous contests, the people emerged 
from the war, uplifted by the struggle, developed in all their 
faculties, broader in thought, stronger in action, more re¬ 
sourceful, and with higher powers and nobler aims than be¬ 
fore they had suffered the fearful experience; and, besides, 
they were inspired with a great hope, a great confidence in 
the future of their country. 



CHAPTER II 


1783-1785 

Alexander Martin's Administration 

Attitude towards the Tories.—Dissatisfaction with the Treaty.— 
The perilous condition of the Union.—Action at Edenton.—The 
settlement on the Cumberland and growth of the Watauga coun¬ 
ties.—Land granted to the soldiers; to Henderson.—The Assembly 
of April 1784.—Martin’s progressive address.—Reelected.—Entails 
abolished.—Advanced legislation.—Lands of Tories held forfeited. 
—Fayetteville incorporated.—Rivers to be made navigable.— 
Clubfoot and Harlow canal.—Special Commerce Courts.'—The 
Treaty not observed.—The offer to Congress of the Western Ter¬ 
ritory.—Conditions beyond the mountains.—The people assert in¬ 
dependence.—The Assembly meets in October.—A census ordered 
to be taken.—Caswell elected Governor.—Liberty Hall moved to 
Salisbury.—Science Hall.—Oath of allegiance modified.—Quakers 
allowed to wear hats in court.—The three-fifths rule.—Duties laid 
for Congress.—Indignation at greed of other states.—The offer 
to 'Congress withdrawn.—The District of Washington.—Sevier 
elected General.—The people of Franklin disregard the repeal.— 
They adopt a Constitution.—Sevier Governor, and Caswell County 
erected.—The currency of the new State.—Martin’s admonitions 
disregarded.—Franklin seeks admission into the Confederacy.— 
Efforts to control the people in vain.—Martin calls the Assembly 
to meet.—Congress urges North Carolina to annul her repealing 
act.—Caswell Governor.—The Assembly without a quorum. 

Although the year 1783 brought peace it was not un¬ 
marked by agitations. The doubts, the dangers, the vi¬ 
cissitudes of the war were passed; a new standpoint was 
gained; but new questions arose to engage the attention 
of men, enlisting their sympathies, awakening their appre¬ 
hensions and arousing their passions. In the final draft 
of the Treaty of Peace Great Britain had sought to conserve 
the interests of the Loyalists who, as dutiful subjects, had 
made great sacrifices in behalf of their Sovereign and had 
staunchly and vigorously maintained the Royal cause. She 
secured a stipulation that debts to British creditors were to 
be paid in full; that there were to be no further confiscations 
or prosecutions; and that Congress was to earnestly recom- 


24 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


1783 


The feeling 
against the 
Tories 


mend restitution of all rights and property. When this 
provision of the Treaty, at first withheld by Congress, was 
eventually made public the country was at once aflame. In 
every state there were the same vigorous protests. The 
Patriots would grant no favor to the Tories. It was im¬ 
puted to these enemies of their country that they had 
cheered the British when despondent, and, by their zealous 
partisanship, had greatly prolonged the hopeless struggle 
for British supremacy; that they had given to the contest 
its particular cast of brutality and had been the chief actors 
in the butcheries that marked its progress; that they had 
applied the torch to their neighbors’ houses with relentless 
barbarity, and had wantonly destroyed property while mur¬ 
dering the unfortunate victims of their vengeance. Some 
prudent men realized that better temper should prevail, 
and urged that the Treaty under which independence was 
secured should be sacredly observed in every part. But 
these were few in number, and their arguments served to 
intensify rather than assuage the prevailing bitterness. 

The revolt of the soldiers 

A question not arousing equal passion but of yet more 
vital importance related to the Union that had successfully 
carried the colonies through the long war to independence. 
The Confederacy was burdened by a crushing debt, and 
was bankrupt. Its currency was without value; the public 
creditors were unpaid and there was no power to impose a 
tax. Worse than all, no provision could be made to settle 
with the soldiers who had won independence and were now 
in their camps clamoring for their arrearages. To meet 
this exigency Congress directed that Washington’s veterans, 
although unpaid, should return to their homes on furlough. 
As the army was being thus disbanded a hundred mal¬ 
contents of the Pennsylvania line marched from Lancaster 
to Philadelphia to demand of the Pennsylvania Council 



FINANCIAL STRAITS 


25 


payment of their dues. Joined by others until they became 
a formidable mob, they surrounded the building in which 
not only the Council but the Continental Congress was in 
session, and encircled it with a cordon of bayonets. An¬ 
archy was about to supplant all authority. Eventually the 
members of the Congress succeeded in escaping; and they, 
with indignation, resolved h> leave Philadelphia and meet at 
Princeton. Washington, always prompt, hurried General 
Robert Howe to the scene with a sufficient force to quell 
the mutineers. The boldness of the mob and the indignity 
to Congress alarmed the friends of established government 
who saw rising above the horizon a portentous cloud that 
threatened the destruction of all law and order. Gloomy 
apprehensions and painful forebodings thus followed fast 
the general rejoicings. The financial straits into which the 
government had fallen were assuredly deplorable and ap¬ 
parently without remedy. Unanimity was requisite for ac¬ 
tion and the negative of a single state could defeat any 
measure; and as the power to levy taxes was not conferred 
on Congress it could only apportion the amount needed 
among the states and leave it to them to raise their quotas 
by taxation. 

The Articles of Confederation 

North Carolina was not indifferent to these radical de¬ 
fects in the Articles of Confederation. In the darkest hour 
of her own distress, July, 1781, she had with her accustomed 
zeal assented to the levying of a five per cent duty for the 
use of the United States; but other states withheld their 
sanction and the measure had not become operative. The 
varying interests of the different states raised obstacles 
that rendered all efforts for unity abortive. The common 
debts remained unsettled and unsecured. The pledges of 
the states were unredeemed, and the Confederation was 
about to vanish in ruin and disgrace. No state was more 


The straits 
of the 

government 


North 

Carolina’s 

attitude 



26 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


1783 


McRee: 
Life of 
Iredell 
II, 89 


Maclaine 


alive to the situation than North Carolina; nor were any 
delegates more zealous than hers. In February, 1783, Wil¬ 
liamson wrote from Congress to Iredell: “For more than 
three weeks we have been constantly engaged in fixing a 
scale for settling the quotas of the different states. To¬ 
day we have agreed on one resolution which the Southern 
States have carried with great difficulty. I believe we 
failed in twenty different plans before we fixed on one. 
The framers of our Confederation, with reverence be it said, 
were not infallible. Congress has reserved the power of 
making treaties; these treaties include the relations of com¬ 
merce ; we borrow money and have not the means of paying 
sixpence. There is no measure, however wise or necessary, 
that may not be defeated by a single state, however small 
or wrong headed. The cloud of public creditors, including 
the army, is gathering about us; the prospect thickens.” 
The picture was gloomy indeed. 

The Tories 

During that summer, hostilities being over, a number of 
Tories, who had formerly abandoned their homes, returned 
to the State. Several came to Wilmington, but the popular 
ill will ran so high against them that they quickly withdrew. 
Their enforced departure irritated those inhabitants who 
had social and friendly relations with them and led par¬ 
ticularly to the estrangement of Archibald Maclaine, who 
had been a strong patriot, from many with whom he had 
previously cooperated. As time passed his sympathies and 
interests became more and more involved with the Loyal¬ 
ists, and he grew in bitterness towards those whose faces 
were hard set against them. At Edenton, ever the seat of 
vigorous zeal guided by high intelligence, these public mat¬ 
ters agitated the people profoundly. On the first day of 
August a meeting of the citizens was held, presided over 



WEST OF THE MOUNTAINS 


27 


by Samuel Johnston, at which resolutions were adopted 
urging the maintenance of order, the support of govern- gam 
ment, the payment of the public debt and justice to the Johllston 
soldiers. In particular was the necessity of continued union 
urged, and an enlargement of the powers of the Union. 

It was also resolved, “That we wish, as far as it is con¬ 
sistent with the Treaty of Peace, proper measures may be 
taken to guard the evils that might arise from a return 
of those persons who withdrew themselves from a defense 
of the country and joined the British in time of our dis¬ 
tress” ; and the “gasconading encouragements they held 
forth to induce a continuance of the war” were dwelt upon 
in vigorous language. Especially it was recommended to 
the magistrates to be vigilant against those persons who 
might attempt to return in violation of the laws. 

These resolves, appealing alike to prejudice and patriot¬ 
ism, doubtless were proposed as embodying the purpose of 
those who favored them as of the first importance, strength¬ 
ening the Federal Union. But there were other subjects, 
also, tending to division. 

The western settlements 

The region beyond the mountains had become of im¬ 
portance. Settlers guided by John Sevier had moved from 
the Watauga to Nolichucky, and the Indians ceded all the 
territory north of the French Broad to the whites, reserving 
as their hunting grounds the region south of that river. 

Farther in the interior of Kentucky had received many ac¬ 
cessions, and the call of the West appealed to bold, adven¬ 
turous spirits. In 1779 James Robertson penetrated far 
into the wilderness and established a camp at a salt-lick 
on the Cumberland, separated by impassable mountains 
from the Watauga settlements. Once occupied by the 
French traders as a station, it was commonly known as 
“French Lick.” The following year others passed in boats 



28 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


1783 


Grants to 
the soldiers 


The 

migration 


down the Tennessee to the Ohio, and then ascended the 
Cumberland to Robertson’s cabins. Although much har¬ 
assed by Indians they held their ground and so increased 
in numbers that in 1783 the North Carolina Assembly in¬ 
corporated that region into a county, calling it Davidson, 
and naming the central settlement Nashville. At the same 
session the State made some provision for her soldiers 
now returning to their homes, wearing the laurel leaf of vic¬ 
tory. There was set aside, as a bounty for the veterans of 
the war, an extensive domain from the point where the 
Cumberland River crossed the Virginia line, south fifty-five 
miles, then westward to the Tennessee; and Martin Arm¬ 
strong was appointed the surveyor to locate their grants, 
while a board of commissioners adjusted their accounts to 
be paid by the Treasurer. 

On the east of the Cumberland Mountains, in the valley 
of Powell River, in extinguishment of their claims for 
land purchased from the Indians, more than two hundred 
thousands acres were allotted to Richard Henderson and 
his associates, the Indians remaining in possession from 
the French Broad to Chickamauga. And now the soldiers 
crossed the mountains to take possession of their bounty 
lands, and population flowed in with a rush to occupy 
the fertile tracts along the Powell and the Clinch, while 
others passed on to the distant Cumberland. 

The Assembly meets—Martin’s great address 

The Assembly elected in the spring of 1784 met at Hills¬ 
boro in April and, having much business of importance to 
transact, the session was prolonged beyond any other since 
the Revolution. 'It was remarkable for its ability, and its 
work indicates breadth and patriotism,, a just conception 
of the needs of the day and zeal in perfecting legislation. 
Perhaps because of the great matters to be determined both 
Willie Jones and Sam Johnston, neither of whom was often 



LOOKING TO THE FUTURE 


29 • 


in the Assembly, were members of the Senate. The over¬ 
shadowing questions were those relating to the Union, and 
to the future prosperity of the State, and these were for¬ 
cibly dwelt on by Governor Martin in his address. The 
cause of the Union he urged with power and without re¬ 
serve, insisting on “the great wisdom displayed in connect¬ 
ing the states under one common sovereignty in Congress.” 
“I need not mention,” said he, “in conclusion, that you are 
building for posterity. For centuries to come the infant 
annals of our time will be traced with eagerness by inquisi¬ 
tive posterity for precedents, for maxims to which the future 
government may still conform. Now is the important mo¬ 
ment to establish on your part the Continental Power on its 
firmest basis, by which the people of these states rose and 
are to be continued a nation.” But as anxious as he was to 
maintain the Union, he was no less pronounced in advocating 
progress in State affairs. A resident of the western part of 
the State and familiar with the disadvantages under which 
the inhabitants of the interior labored, he pressed on the 
Legislature administrative policies intended to promote the 
general welfare. The practice of issuing State bonds had not 
then been introduced, and in a general way it may be said 
there was no State credit. State aid could be given only 
through taxation, and the people were not familiar with 
the idea of taxing the whole for the advantage of a part. 
Local efforts alone were available for the promotion of 
enterprises. In presenting these subjects to the Assembly 
the Governor remarked: “The trade and navigation of 
this country is of lasting consequence, and requires your 
immediate interposition and patronage. It is necessary our 
rivers be rendered more navigable, our roads opened and 
supported, by which the industrious planter may have his 
produce carried to market with more ease and convenience. 
Thereby more merchants of opulence would be induced to 
settle in the State and open new resources of industry 
among our inhabitants.” In particular, he again urged, “Let 


1784 


S. R., XIX, 
498ff 


Transpor¬ 

tation 



30 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


1784 

Education 


Progress 


S. R., XXIY, 
572ff 


State 

measures 


me call your attention to the education of our youth. May 
seminaries be revived and encouraged, where the under¬ 
standing may be enlightened, the heart mended and genius 
cherished: whence the State may draw forth men of ability 
to direct her councils and support her government. Religion 
and virtue claim your particular care. To preserve the 
morals of the people is to preserve the State.” Such senti¬ 
ments met with the approval of the members, and Martin 
was again chosen Governor. 

Caswell, Jones and Johnston, all sustained the Governor 
in his measures: and at the end of the session, gratified at 
his success, he wrote with enthusiasm to the delegates in 
Congress: “You have here seven acts passed this session. 
They contain almost all the substances of every principal 
recommendation relative to finance. The request of Con¬ 
gress as to the western lands, their favorite object, is com¬ 
plied with. The Assembly came to no resolution as to the 
refugees. Debate ran high. Several bills fell through re¬ 
specting them, and confiscated property remains unsold 
which were laid over to the next session.” 

At that epochal period, when every community in America 
was entering on new conditions, there was adopted a great 
mass of legislation conforming our institutions to the new 
life of a broader citizenship; and it is to be noted that at 
this time acts were passed abolishing entails, admitting the 
half-blood to inheritances, allowing parents to inherit from 
their children, allowing widows to dissent from the wills 
of their husbands, providing easier means of subjecting real 
estate to the payment of debts, making courts of equity 
more efficient and extirpating many vestiges of the feudal 
times. 

By an act altering the meeting of the Assembly to October 
and the election to August, it was provided that at the next 
session a new Governor should be chosen who should qual¬ 
ify in June, 1785, at the expiration of Governor Martin’s 
term: and the practice of having district treasurers was dis- 



THREE-FIFTHS RULE 


3i 


continued and Memican Hunt was elected Treasurer of the 
whole State. 

As the five per cent duty granted in 1781 to the Confed¬ 
eracy for an unlimited period had not become effective, now 
on the recommendation of Congress another act was passed 
granting the duty for the limited term of twenty-five years, 
but with the same condition—that the other states should 
agree to it. Under this act the collectors were to be ap¬ 
pointed by the states, but were to be removable by Congress. 
Until the act should become operative, by the other states 
adopting it, North Carolina imposed a two per cent duty 
for herself. Further, for a period of twenty-five years, the 
Assembly granted to Congress a tax of six pence on every 
acre of land in the State. 

The three-fifths rule 

During the war the public burdens had been apportioned 
among the states on the basis of property. In 1783 the 
Southern members, after a long struggle, succeeded in 
changing the basis from property to population. In the 
enumeration of the people for this purpose, all free inhabi¬ 
tants, of every age, sex and condition, were to be counted, 
and “three-fifths of all other persons not computed in the 
above description/’ Such was the origin of the practice of 
computing five slaves as the equal of three freemen, for 
purposes of taxation; and afterwards for representation. 
It is, however, observable that the word slave was not used 
in this enactment, nor in the Federal Constitution that per¬ 
petuated it. This proposition, vigorously pressed by the 
Southern delegates, as mentioned by Dr. Williamson, was 
adopted in Congress in 1783 and agreed to by North Caro¬ 
lina in the spring 1784, and, becoming operative, was con¬ 
tinued in the Constitution of 1787, being known as the 
“three-fifths” rule. 

Although hampered for the want of means, the Assembly, 
animated by a spirit of progress, was not unmindful of 


Grants to 
Congress of 
duties 
and taxes 


S. R., XXIV, 
557 



32 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


1784 


River 

navigation 


S. R., XXIV, 
634 


Ibid., 606 


Liberty Hall 
and Science 
Hall 


Acts 1784, 
Ch. 21 


Fayetteville 


The 

Granville 

and 

McCulloh 

tracts 


the commercial and educational interest of the common¬ 
wealth. The inspection laws, pilotage regulations, and road 
laws were revised and perfected; and steps were taken to 
make navigable the Roanoke and the Dan, also the Cape 
Fear, the Neuse, the Tar, the Trent and the Fishing Creek; 
and indeed the county courts were authorized to make nav¬ 
igable at county expense any stream in their respective 
counties, while private enterprise undertook to cut the Club¬ 
foot and Ffarlow canal. In the interest of commerce a 
special court was established to be held at the four seaport 
towns, to try cases arising among foreigners or seamen, 
or involving subjects of a mercantile nature. Provision was 
made for taking a census of the inhabitants and a tax was to 
retire old currency. Trustees were appointed for Innes 
Academy; and for two public schools in Onslow, for two 
academies in Morganton district; and, the trustees of Liberty 
Hall at Charlotte having represented that institution had 
fallen into decay and having petitioned for its removal to 
Salisbury, trustees were appointed for Liberty Hall to be 
established at Salisbury, and, amending the charter of 
Science Hall at Hillsboro, the Assembly converted the old 
St. Matthews church into a free church and an academy. • 
And in a spirit of tolerance, a special act was passed allow¬ 
ing the Quakers to wear their hats in the courts : and the oath 
of allegiance was likewise modified, for all persons admitted 
as citizens were required to take the oath of allegiance and 
fidelity to the State. 

In grateful recognition of Lafayette’s services the name 
of the town of Campbellton had been changed to Fayette¬ 
ville and its importance had been extended by making it 
the seat of a District Court: and now Moore County was 
laid off. 

As the State now claimed the Granville territory, direc¬ 
tions were given that all the papers connected with Gran¬ 
ville’s land officers should be collected and preserved. 
Henry McCulloh had succeeded to his father’s rights in 



HOSTILITY TO TORIES 


33 


the lands granted him for settlement in 1736; but he being 
a Loyalist, his estates, like Granville’s, were held forfeited, 
and his petition for their restoration, although warmly 
pressed by many influential friends, was denied. 

Indeed the implacable animosity of the fiercer Whigs 
against the Tories was constantly manifest. Agreeably to 
the express desire of the Continental Congress, the Grand 
Committee of the Assembly brought forward bills to repeal 
such laws as were inconsistent with the Treaty of Peace, 
and to restore to the Tories such confiscated property as 
had not been already sold. Johnston, Hooper, Willie 
Jones, Maclaine, Hawkins, General Butler, General Person 
and others, either from the softening influences of friendly 
ties, or to give effect in good faith to the Treaty of Peace, 
advocated these measures, but without avail. Abner Nash, 
General Rutherford and their associates carried the day. 
George Hooper, brother of William Hooper and son-in-law 
of Maclaine, was a Loyalist, and he and Henry Eustace 
McCulloh had many friends; but they were powerless. On 
May day, when hope and cheerfulness are commonly in the 
ascendant, Hooper wrote: “My hopes are at an end. This 
day has put the matter beyond controversy; and there is 
not a phrenzy of misguided political zeal, avarice cloaked in 
the cover of patriotism, or private passion and prejudice, 
under the pretense of revenging the wrongs of the country, 
let these be carried to what excess they will—that can give 
us the least surprise. In the Commons in spite of every¬ 
thing I could do, the bill was rejected, some 20 of 80 for it. 
It fared worse in the Senate. Mr. Johnston spoke for it; 
Willie Jones stept forward in a very becoming manner:— 
their labor was lost. Griffith Rutherford called the objects 
of the recommendatory clause, ‘Imps of Hell’; the vote 
was called, and there were not ten in favor of it.” Later 
he wrote: “The political phrenzy was high; beyond any¬ 
thing I had foreseen.” The popular heart was indeed 
strongly set against the Tories. 


The Tories 


3 



34 


MARTIN'S ADMINISTRATION 


1784 


The 

provisos 


Western territory ceded 

Another measure also led to divergences. Congress in 
sore straits had urged the states to cede their unsettled 
western territories for the benefit of the Union. North 
Carolina had such territory, and some of the people desired 
the cession to be made. 

The North Carolina Legislature, adopting the suggestion, 
offered to cede her entire territory beyond the mountains, 
although it was thought to contain one-tenth of her popula¬ 
tion. The proceeds of the unoccupied land thus ceded 
were to be for the payment of the creditors of the Lmited 
States. This measure was deemed by some as unjust, weak¬ 
ening the security of the creditors of the State and depriv¬ 
ing the inhabitants of a chief asset for the payment of their 
public indebtedness. William R. Davie made vigorous op¬ 
position, and under his leadership General Person and 
thirty-six other members filed a strong protest against it. 
In particular it met with the disfavor of the representatives 
of the interior counties, and even some of those from be¬ 
yond the mountains strenuously objected. But the purpose 
to contribute to the common fund of the Union was strong, 
and, besides, there were both political and economical rea¬ 
sons for the cession. The inhabitants of the territory were 
entirely segregated, and the administration of public affairs, 
rendered difficult as well as expensive by the remoteness of 
the region cut off by impassable mountains, had been so 
unsatisfactory that many of the people were discontented 
and desired separation. And so, despite much earnest op¬ 
position, the bill was hastily passed without the subject hav¬ 
ing been discussed at all among the people of the State. 
There were, however, several conditions attached to the 
donation. It was to be accepted by Congress within twelve 
months. As a provision for orderly government, the 
territory was to have the North Carolina Constitution until 
the inhabitants themselves should change it; and there was 



ACT OF CESSION 


35 


to be no regulation made by Congress tending to the emanci¬ 
pation of slaves other than should be directed by the new 
State itself. This last provision was inserted .because 
Congress had already manifested a disposition to legislate 
against slavery. When an ordinance was being framed for 
the government of the Northwest Territory, a provision pro¬ 
hibiting slavery in that region failed only by the vote of 
Richard Dobbs Spaight, one of the North Carolina dele¬ 
gates. Three years later, in 1787, when a second ordinance 
was passed, Jefferson was successful and slavery was forever 
prohibited in that extensive region. 

There was a further provision in the Act of Cession that 
until Congress should accept the gift the sovereignty and 
jurisdiction of North Carolina, in and over the territory 
and the inhabitants thereof, should remain in all respects 
as if the act had not been passed. So with respect to 
government in the territory, the existing government was 
not disturbed; nor was it to be disturbed until Congress 
should accept the gift; and then it was provided that the 
Constitution under which the people had lived should con¬ 
tinue to be their fundamental law until changed by them¬ 
selves. Subject to the conditions mentioned, North 
Carolina, in June, 1784, made the tender of one-half of her 
territory already somewhat settled, and with population 
pouring into it, for the benefit of the Union. Truly it 
bespoke of high patriotism. No other state had been so 
liberal in sustaining the common government. If during 
the war North Carolina’s contributions for the cause had 
been unsurpassed, now in time of peace she again set an 
example for her sisters to follow. 

At the west 

Some unexpected events, however, quickly followed the 
passage of the act. When the measure was being consid¬ 
ered some of the representatives from the counties embraced 
favored its passage, while others stoutly opposed it. The 


1784 


S. R., XXIV, 
563 


1784 



36 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


1784 


The 

Franklin 

Convention 


Ramsay: 

Tennessee, 

797 


sentiment of the leaders was divided, but the people for 
the most part hailed it with satisfaction. For some time 
courts had not been regularly held beyond the mountains, 
and the laws were not fully enforced. Settlers were daily 
encroaching on the lands of the Indians, who had become 
irritated because of prolonged delay in delivering to them 
goods, agreeable to a treaty stipulation, in compensation for 
territory already relinquished. These circumstances aroused 
a spirit of hostility and several of the encroaching settlers 
were murdered. A feeling of unrest, perhaps of insecurity, 
began to pervade the settlement. And, so, when the news 
was received of the Act of Cession, among the greater num¬ 
ber of people it fell on willing ears. It was urged that the 
State had neither sufficiently enforced law nor given ade¬ 
quate protection; and soon the people numbering some 
thirty thousand, hardy and self-reliant, moved forward with 
eagerness to assume the functions of self government. 
Doubtless, also, the vista of public honors in a separate and 
independent commonwealth was pleasant and alluring to 
aspiring leaders and quickened them to action. There was 
some objection; but the voices of those who doubted were 
drowned in the general commotion. Although not author¬ 
ized under the act of the Legislature, a movement was made 
to hold a popular convention. Without delay the counties 
of Washington, Sullivan and Greene elected delegates, who 
assembled at Jonesboro in August, 1784. It is the first step 
that always costs. This irregular action, not anticipated nor 
authorized by North Carolina, was the beginning of events 
that led to grievous disappointments and deplorable anarchy. 
The idea of independence had been urged with great zeal 
and had taken strong hold on the public mind. The pro¬ 
ceedings of the Convention were opened by reading the Dec¬ 
laration of Independence; the Act of Cession was approved; 
and initial steps were taken to establish a new government; 
and an association was adopted and signed to maintain 
independence. John Sevier presided over the Convention 



CASWELL CHOSEN GOVERNOR 


37 


and gave direction to affairs. One of the heroes of Kings 
Mountain, he had long been the most important personage 
in that region, and was esteemed for his capacity and 
character no less than for his bravery and vigorous action. 
Under his direction it was determined to call a second con¬ 
vention for the purpose of framing a constitution, and in 
the interim it was resolved that the new State should es¬ 
tablish a government similar to that of North Carolina. 

The North Carolina Assembly 

In August the North Carolina election was held under 
the new law, and in October the Assembly met at New 
Bern. As Governor Martin’s term was to expire in the 
spring, a successor was now to be chosen. Caswell and 
Nash were the aspirants, the former becoming the victor by 
twenty majority. 

The people had not generally approved the Act of Ces¬ 
sion. Davie and his followers had been sustained at the 
election, and the new Assembly was in sympathy with that 
faction. Besides, a new cause of dissatisfaction was now 
brought to the attention of the members. 

Virginia and New York had in December, 1783, agreed to 
convey to Congress the unsettled territory beyond the Ohio; 
but Massachusetts and Connecticut had set up a claim for a 
part of that region for themselves; and these and other 
states were making demands on Congress for the repay¬ 
ment to them of bounties paid to their troops, and were 
presenting claims for other military expenses incurred for 
local purposes. These demands, so at variance with North 
Carolina’s liberality, excited disgust and aroused indignation. 
The Assembly directed the Governor to make up North 
Carolina’s expenditures and to insist on payment; and, it 
appearing that other states had not passed acts levying taxes 


Sevier 


1784 


Cession 

repealed 



38 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


3. R., XXIV, 
661 


S. R., XIX, 
804 


S. R., XXIV, 
678 


Ibid., 689 


S. R., XVII, 
109 


March, 1785 


for the Union similar to those passed by North Carolina, 
the money collected under these acts was directed to be 
turned into the State treasury; and further, since Congress 
had not yet accepted the gift of the western territory, 
the Assembly repealed the Act of Cession, the vote in the 
House being 37 to 22. So within six months after the 
offer was made, it was withdrawn. Having determined to 
retain the territory, the Assembly created a new judicial 
district, called the District of Washington, covering the four 
western counties, and appointed John Haywood to pre¬ 
side, and David Campbell an associate judge; and John 
Sevier was appointed Brigadier General of the district. 

Tlie State of Franklin 

Sevier had been the central figure in the movement to 
establish a new state, but, on learning of this action of the 
North Carolina Assembly, he was satisfied with it and urged 
that no further steps ought to be taken looking to separa¬ 
tion. A majority of the inhabitants, however, determined 
to persist, and Sevier’s advice was disregarded. Neverthe¬ 
less he exerted his influence to such good purpose as to 
prevent the election of delegates to the approaching con¬ 
vention in two of the counties. Elsewhere his opposition 
was ineffectual, and, finding the popular current for separa¬ 
tion too strong to be stemmed, he at length yielded to it 
and became a member of the new convention and presided 
over it. That body framed a constitution similar to that 
of North Carolina, which was submitted to the people for 
their consideration, to be rejected or ratified by a conven¬ 
tion to assemble thereafter; and it ordered an election for 
members of Assembly. The Assembly so elected con¬ 
vened in March, 1785. At its first session it elected Sevier 
Governor of the State for a term of three years, and David 
Campbell presiding judge of its courts; and also appointed 
State and county officers. The old county officers who had 
been commissioned by North Carolina were for the most 




STATE OF FRANKLIN 


39 


part retained in their respective offices. The county of 
Greene was divided, and two new counties erected, one 
named Sevier, and the other in compliment of Governor 
Caswell; while an academy was incorporated, called in hon¬ 
or of Governor Martin, as the State itself had been called 
Franklin in compliment of Dr. Franklin, then of great in¬ 
fluence in the Continental Congress. The salaries* of the 
officers were fixed at moderate amounts; and, there being 
a scarcity of currency, it was enacted that the produce of 
the country should be received at certain fixed values in pay¬ 
ment of all taxes, public debts and salaries. This was 
entirely similar to the early practice of Albemarle and 
North Carolina; and the same custom had prevailed in some 
other states and communities. Good flax linen was rated 
at 3s. and 6d. per yard, linsey at 3d., beaver and otter skins 
at 6d., raccoon and fox skins is. 3d., woolen cloth at 10s., 
bacon 6d. per pound, good distilled rye whiskey, 2s. 6d. a 
gallon, peach or apple brandy at 3s. a gallon, country made 
sugar at is. per pound; deer skins 6s., good tobacco 15s.* 
the hundred. 

O11 learning that the people were taking steps to form a 
separate state, Governor Martin, in 1785, dispatched a spe¬ 
cial messenger to General Sevier, notifying him of the 
repeal of the Act of Cession and warning him and the peo¬ 
ple to desist from their revolutionary proceedings and be 
obedient to the laws of North Carolina. But the admoni¬ 
tion was disregarded. The Legislature of Franklin was 
then in session and made a formal reply, as also did Gover¬ 
nor Sevier, declaring their purpose to proceed; and Colonel 
William Cocke was directed to hasten to Philadelphia and 
solicit Congress to admit the State of Franklin into the 
Confederacy. ■ North Carolina, they said, had cast them 
off and they did not mean to return. 

*The word “salary” had its origin in the practice of paying the old Roman 
soldiers their stipends in salt. 


Ramsay: 
Tennessee, 


297 


Martin acts 


April, 1785 


S. R., XVII, 
601, 625 


S. R„ XXII, 
640 




40 


MARTIN’S ADMINISTRATION 


On receiving these replies Governor Martin convened 
his Council, and on April 25, published a manifesto requir¬ 
ing the inhabitants beyond the mountains to abandon their 
purpose to form a new state, and to return to their alle¬ 
giance. He declared that the people of North Carolina were 
unwilling to part with them as indicated by the result of 
the recent election for members of the Assembly; that all 
their grievances had been remedied ; that a military district 
had been created for them, and a brigadier general ap¬ 
pointed; and also that a resident associate judge had been 
appointed to hold their courts. But both his entreaties and 
warnings were equally unheeded. Undismayed by the Gov¬ 
ernor’s proclamation, Sevier and his associates, although de¬ 
nounced as being in revolt, held fast to their new constitution 
and reveled in the delights of independence. Evan Shelby, 
now appointed Brigadier, in the place of Sevier, and John 
Tipton, the Colonel of his county, and Col. James Martin, 
s. r., xvii, the Indian agent, all men of great influence, exerted their 
utmost power to arrest the progress of events, but with' 
out avail. Finding that the western counties persisted in 
their course and defied the authority of the State, Governor 
Martin issued a call for the Assembly to meet in New Bern 
on June 1. 

In the meantime the people of Franklin were not inac¬ 
tive. They proceeded to administer the affairs of the new 
State with resolution and determination. Colonel Cocke, 
on reaching Philadelphia about the middle of May, met 
with much favor at the hands of Congress, and that body, 
with scant courtesy to the North Carolina delegates, mani¬ 
fested its sympathy in his mission by urging North Caro¬ 
lina to retrace her steps and annul the repealing act and 
execute a conveyance of the western territory to the Union. 



CASWELL'S SITUATION 


4i 


Thus matters stood at the opening of June when Martin’s 
term expired and Caswell entered on the administration. 

Although the Legislature had been called to meet with the Jun6( 1785 
new Governor, a quorum did not attend, and Caswell was 
left to deal with the novel situation without its aid. 

Doubtless the large majority of the inhabitants of Frank¬ 
lin had merely removed from Orange, Anson and Rowan 
counties across the mountains, although others came in from 
Virginia. The western part of North Carolina, from the 
present Hillsboro to Lincolnton, had been settled by thou¬ 
sands of Germans and Irish, with a sprinkle of French and 
Scotch, and some English west of the Yadkin, and Quakers 
from Back Bay, Maine, Nantucket, Pennsylvania and 
Maryland; and the Moravians. In 1756, an entry in the 
Moravian Diary reads “Three wagons loaded with grain 
came to the mill today: two were from New Garden, a 
Quaker settlement, and the third was from the Jersey (Irish) 
settlement.” Those emigrants had now for years been 
North Carolinians, and when they went across the mountains 
they were still citizens of the State, and Caswell did not wish 
to deal with them harshly. 



CHAPTER III 


Caswell's Second Administration 
1785-1787 


Caswell’s policy of conciliation.—The Assembly makes laws 
for the Western District.—Formalities of elections dispensed 
with.—The interregnum.—Commerce and copyright.—The Grove 
and other academies chartered.—The controversy between the 
bar and the bench.—The Assembly disappoints the Tories.— 
The court suspends an act of Assembly.—It banishes Brice and 
McNeil.—The alleged frauds against the State.—The Annapolis 
conference.—The Assembly meets at Fayetteville.—The arrest of 
the state prisoners.—The conduct of the judges investigated.— 
The judges thanked.—They hold the Act of Assembly unconsti¬ 
tutional.—Commissioners appointed to the Philadelphia Conven¬ 
tion.—Pardon offered to the inhabitants of Franklin.—Sumner 
County erected.—Importation of slaves taxed.—The population of 
the counties.—Delegates to the Continental Congress.—The trial 
of the state prisoners.—Moore, Davie and Iredell.—The convic¬ 
tion and punishment of the prisoners. 


1785 


S. R., XVII, 
446, 472 


S. R. f XX, 5 


Caswell, called now for the second time to the helm of 
the State at a difficult period, acted with that prudence and 
moderation which had ever characterized his public conduct. 
In anticipation of his administration, on May 17, Sevier 
wrote him a long representation, inveig'hing strongly against 
Governor Martin, who had “lately sent up into our country 
a manifesto, together with letters to private persons, in order 
to stir up sedition and insurrection.” In reply, Caswell said 
that matters must remain as they were until the Assembly 
should meet; but he was not to be understood as giving 
countenance to the measures taken by the people west of 
the mountains. The situation in Franklin therefore re¬ 
mained undisturbed. The Legislature held its sessions and 
made laws and the officers of the new State performed their 
functions without interruption. 

When the Assembly met in November Martin succeeded 
to the position of Speaker of the Senate made vacant by 


CONCILIATORY MEASURES 


43 


Caswell’s elevation to the executive office. His influence 
was unabated. Representations were made to the Assembly 
on behalf of the people of Franklin; but they were un¬ 
heeded. Harsh measures, however, were not taken. On 
the contrary a policy of conciliation was pursued. While 
asserting the sovereignty of the State over that part of 
her territory, the Assembly refrained from the exertion of 
force, doubtless expecting that sooner or later the people 
would voluntarily return to their allegiance. Still it made 
laws to be enforced in that particular part of the State. 
Because of the tide of immigration setting to that remote 
wilderness, in order to preserve the grain raised as food 
for the inhabitants, the Assembly forbade the erection of 
any distilleries beyond the mountains. Moreover, it ap¬ 
pointed inspectors of tobacco for that region, for the cul¬ 
ture of the weed had extended beyond Surry and Burke 
to the confines of civilization. It also provided for the 
erection of an academy at Nashville, granting 240 acres of 
land for the purpose; and it established a Superior Court 
for Davidson County. Indeed, the people of that county were 
so remote from the State of Franklin that they were not 
at all involved in the movement on the Watauga and were 
in entire accord with North Carolina. At the session of 
1785 John Haywood was appointed judge to hold court 
across the mountains, but the situation was so perilous that 
in June he wrote to the Governor that if it was thought that 
he should risk his life through hostile savages, he would at 
the peril of his life undertake the service. He seems not 
to have gone. The next year John Brown was elected 
judge. 

Of the inhabitants in Franklin there were some who ad¬ 
hered to North Carolina, but the authority of the State was 
so generally rejected that in order to afford an opportunity 
for the loyal people to be represented in the General Assem¬ 
bly, it was deemed necessary to pass a special act dispensing 
with the customary formalities of holding the polls; and 


Conciliatory 

measures 


Special 
election law 




44 


CASWELL’S SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


1786 


S. R., XXIV, 
747 


Life of 
Iredell, 142 


there were some elections held under this act. However, 
all measures to induce the people to abandon the new gov¬ 
ernment were without avail, and North Carolina’s authority 
being no longer recognized, a period of three years, sub¬ 
sequent to 1784, was afterwards known as the interregnum. 

The North Carolina Assembly 

The Assembly was progressive. Acts were passed regu¬ 
lating commerce and insuring the merchantable character of 
products intended for export; for enlarging the jurisdiction 
of the county courts, and securing to an author a copyright 
of any book, map or chart he should prepare and publish, to 
last for a period of fourteen years. The Dobbs Academy 
was incorporated for Kinston, and one called The Grove, 
afterwards attaining much celebrity, in Duplin, and Eden- 
ton was authorized to donate six acres of the town common 
to the Smith Academy. The schools already established 
were apparently efficient and effective. Of that at Hills¬ 
boro, originally chartered as Science Hall, Hooper wrote: 
“We had an annual commencement or examination. The 
boys exceeded our most earnest expectations. They were 
examined in Latin, English, natural philosophy, geography, 
geometry and Euclid; some spoke a little in Latin and 
English.” 

The administration of the courts had not given satisfac¬ 
tion. The judges had fallen into a habit of having long 
discussions, without deciding cases, and the dockets were 
crowded. In July, 1785, Hooper wrote to Iredell: “Our 
court at Wilmington went on in the old dilatory mode of 
doing business. Great threats of dispatch, accomplished 
in the usual way. Much conversation from Germanicus 
(Spencer) on the bench; his vanity has become insufferable, 
and is accompanied by the most overbearing insolence. 
Maclaine and he had a terrible fracas. The courts must be 
altered. Against the present system the cries of the people 
are loud; they must be heard. But what affects me most, 




TORIES LOSE HOPE 


45 


the censure is pointed at the bar, when the occasion is 
seated much higher.” At the following session of the As¬ 
sembly John Hay introduced a bill to establish a court of 
appeals. Powerfully urged by the bar, it passed the House, 
but failed in the Senate. The prime purpose was to re¬ 
move the judges, and the failure of the measure was the 
defeat of the lawyers. Their efforts to establish a new 
system had come to grief. They also met with a severe 
reverse in their purpose in respect to the Tories. The new 
Assembly reelected Caswell and was surrounded by the 
same influence as the previous one. The Loyalists had not 
grown in favor, and the sentiment of the country found 
expression in new legislation adverse to their interests. 
Once more it was enacted that no one who had ever given 
aid or countenance to the British should hold any office in 
the State; and because some of the returned Tories were 
seeking to regain possession of their property under the 
provision of the Treaty of Peace, the Assembly, to put an 
end to such proceedings, ratified all sales made by the 
commissioners of confiscated property and declared that 
the sales passed title to the purchasers, and that the pur¬ 
chasers should not be liable to answer any suit instituted 
to recover the property; and the more certainly to effect the 
purpose, it directed the courts to dismiss any such suits 
that might be brought. 

The last ray of hope that buoyed the expectant Loyalists 
seemed to be extinguished; and, moreover, this sweeping 
legislation aroused the indignation of the lawyers who were 
interested in this class of profitable litigation, and, also of 
those conservative public men who desired to see the Treaty 
carried into effect and its obligations honorably observed. 
Iredell hotly declared: “No consideration shall induce me, 
directly or indirectly, to support, countenance or have act or 
part in carrying so infamous a law into execution.” Mac¬ 
laine was full of ire: “The Assembly and the judges have 
indeed found an easy way to avoid the Treaty. The for- 


1786 


S. R., XXIV, 
730 


Life of 
Iredell, 133 



46 


CASWELL’S SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


1786 

Life of 
Iredell, 137 


S. R., 

XVIII, 138 
1786 


Ibid., 139 


mer refuse to point out any method to ascertain what is 
confiscated; and the judges refuse to let any person, whose 
property may be taken by a rapacious commissioner, main¬ 
tain a suit, so that we seem to be at the mercy of a set of 
needy adventurers, whose interest it is to pillage us.” This 
adverse criticism of the commissioners was not, however, 
founded in rancorous partisanship, for they were men 
who had served with honorable distinction in the field dur¬ 
ing the war, making every sacrifice that patriotism had de¬ 
manded, and had given to the world sufficient evidence that 
they were not actuated by a spirit of rapacity. However, a 
constitutional question was involved in the new legislation 
that at first escaped the attention of the lawyers: had the 
Legislature, under the Constitution, power to direct the 
judicial department of the government to dismiss actions 
regularly instituted? In England the power of Parliament 
was supreme, so supreme that some one had wittily re¬ 
marked that its only limitation was that it could not make 
a woman to be a man. In the new state governments writ¬ 
ten constitutions had replaced the unwritten constitution of 
Great Britain; and these instruments were the charts of 
government. The judicial department was separate and 
distinct from the legislative, and independent of it. At 
the first court held after the passage of this act, in May, 
1786, at New Bern, a motion was made to dismiss such a 
suit, agreeably to the act. The judges did not assent. They 
took an advisari and recommended to the parties to settle 
their differences out of court. At once the subject came 
under public discussion. The judges were severely ar¬ 
raigned, even by some of the bar, whose hostility was 
deep seated. 

During the December term, 1785, at Wilmington, two 
Tories, Francis Brice and Dr. Daniel McNeil, of Bladen, 
who had fled the State under charge of treason, because of 
acts committed during the war, returned and “paraded the 



BENCH AND BAR CLASH 


47 


streets with an insolent bearing.” Out of respect for the 
court, then in session, the inhabitants forbore the personal 
chastisement which such conduct invited. The presence 
and bearing of these men, and the repressed indignation of 
the people, being brought to the attention of the court by 
General Brown and Colonel Robeson, the court directed the 
grand jury that, although there was no statute on the 
subject, no sovereign state was without power to prevent 
it from receiving injury; that the return of these men 
was in itself a misdemeanor, and that the court would de¬ 
termine whether the act was criminal; that if it appeared 
to them that the allegations were true, they could find a 
true bill. Indictments were found; the parties were tried 
and convicted, and the court imposed a small fine on both, 
and directed that they should enter into bond to depart the 
State within sixty days. The banishment of these Tories 
greatly inflamed the lawyers who were caring for the in¬ 
terests of the Loyalists. 

Constant were the collisions between the bench and some 
of the bar, whose bearing towards the court greatly ex¬ 
asperated the judges. In the course of one of these incidents, 
Judge Ashe, on the bench, told John Hay that his insolence 
to Judge Sitgreaves, in the court of admiralty, deserved to 
be answered with a cane. Hay was, in particular, a leading 
agitator, publishing articles with a view of bringing the 
judges into disrepute and covering them with ridicule. 

Robbery of the State 

As great as was the commotion that attended these pro¬ 
ceedings, there was another subject that agitated the State 
even still more. Early in 1785 a board composed of Ben¬ 
jamin McCulloh, John Macon and Henry Montfort, men of 
high social standing and strong connections, was appointed 
to liquidate army accounts. Certificates were to be given 
by officers to those who had rendered service, which, when 


1785 


S. R., XVII, 
234 


Life of 
Iredell, 89, 
143 



48 


CASWELL’S SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


approved by this board, would be paid by the State Treas¬ 
urer. It came to be rumored that in many instances, cer¬ 
tificates were given in blank; that in some cases no services 
whatever had been performed, and, in others, forgery had 
been resorted to. It was alleged that the officers shared 
in the spoils; and it was thought that some of the board 
were involved in the conspiracy to defraud the State. Soon 
the entire State resounded with clamor, raised by rumors, 
trumpeted by a thousand tongues, of widespread fraud 
and conspiracy to pillage the treasury. Governor Caswell, 
after consulting with the Council, directed the treasurer to 
pay no more claims until the Assembly should meet. Hunt, 
however, did not obey; and the clamor grew in volume and 
the public indignation was Unbounded. 

Commerce claims attention 

Another subject of general concern also engaged public 
attention. The powers of the Confederacy were found by 
experience to be inadequate to accomplish the purposes of 
the Union and the regulation of commerce by the individual 
1786 states led to controversies. The necessity of a change was 

fully realized. In February, 1786, Virginia, pressed by ques¬ 
tions arising from commerce on the Chesapeake by four 
different states, moved the waters by adopting resolutions 
inviting the states to appoint deputies to attend at Annap¬ 
olis in September and consider amendments to the Articles 
of Confederation relating to commerce. On receiving this 
invitation, Governor Caswell, in July, 1786, called his Coun¬ 
cil together and appointed Abner Nash, Alfred Moore, 
Hugh Williamson, John Gray Blount and Philemon Haw- 
s R kins to represent North Carolina in the Conference. Wil- 

xviii, 681 liamson alone attended; and on arriving he found that 
some of the commissioners from other states had met and, 
without waiting, had joined in a recommendation that there 
should be a convention of all the states to consider other 








ASSEMBLY AT FAYETTEVILLE 


49 


subjects besides that of commerce; and, having agreed on 
that course, the Conference had adjourned. Affairs relating 
to the Union were thus also in the public mind. 

The Assembly convenes 

The Assembly was to meet at Fayetteville, and there was 
great bustle preparing for the event. Already that town 
was spoken of as the capital. It was at the head of water 
transportation, and was the chief mart of the interior of 
the State. From there highways branched out in all direc¬ 
tions, and its importance was year by year becoming more 
considerable. Hopes of future splendor augmented the zeal 
of the patriotic and hospitable citizens in providing suitable 
accommodations for the crowd of notables who were to be 
their guests during that eventful season. The time was 
big with .events, and the public mind in a state of prodigious 
excitement on subjects appealing to the prejudices of men 
and swaying the passions rather than their reason. Men of 
high position, even the State Treasurer, were accused of 
looting the treasury; there was a clamor against the judges, 
demanding their impeachment; the western counties were 
in flagrant revolt, and, further, were in peril of an Indian 
war; the Treaty had not yet been given effect; the union 
of the states was in jeopardy, being held but by a rope of 
sand, and there was a pressing demand for an enlargement 
of the powers of the Continental Congress. Such were the 
larger matters that were engaging public attention when the 
Assembly met on November 18, 1786, the most exciting by 
far being the alleged conspiracy to defraud the State. 

Caswell, eminently a practical man, now gave evidence 
of his efficiency; while James Coor and John B. Ashe, both 
solid and capable, were, as speakers of the two houses, 
measurably directors of events. On the floors were Davie, 
Hooper, Rutherford, Maclaine, Spaight, Cabarrus, Blount, 
Battle, Stokes and others of large experience and approved 


Nov. 1786 


The 

excitement 


4 



50 


CASWELL’S SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


1786 
S. R., 

XVIII, 233 


Ibid., 251 


Ibid., 303 


wisdom; and Alfred Moore, the learned and admirable At¬ 
torney-General, was directed to attend that the Assembly 
might have the benefit of his advice. 

The prisoners of state 

The Governor hastened to detail the circumstances con¬ 
nected with the fraudulent accounts, and added that “Il¬ 
liberal suggestions had been thrown out against several of 
your principal officers.” The subject was at once taken up 
and pressed with vigor. An order was passed directing 
the Governor to arrest twenty-three persons whose names 
were specified, while twenty-eight others were named as 
witnesses. The accused were to be held in confinement, as 
‘'prisoners of state.” Caswell lost no time in obeying 
His measures were so prompt and efficient that the Assem¬ 
bly, in token of its enthusiastic approbation, declared by 
resolution that it entertained “the highest sense of the up¬ 
right, spirited and vigorous exertions of His Excellency.” 
A grand committee was raised to make an inquisition and 
to examine the prisoners. On December 9 the houses met 
in joint session, with Elisha Battle in the chair, to hear the 
report. The report was signed by the full committee, among 
others, General Rutherford, General Gregory and Col. Wil¬ 
liam Polk. It was full, explicit, and had the clear ring of 
investigation. Henry Montfort, a member of the House, 
was implicated, and was g'iven a day to exonerate himself; 
but his explanations were so unsatisfactory that he was ig- 
nominiously expelled. The Treasurer, Memican Hunt, 
was also required to appear before the houses, and was 
heard in his defense. His term was about to expire; and 
John Haywood was elected in his place. 

For the trial of the parties implicated, still held as 
“state prisoners,” a bill was passed ordering a special term 
of court to he held at Warrenton on the last Monday in 
January. 





JUDGES ON TRIAL 


5i 


The judges impeached 

While these proceedings were being taken against the 
conspirators to pillage the treasury, John Hay, hoping to 
remove the judges from the bench, took advantage of the 
commotion and introduced , resolutions of impeachment 
against them. The House notified the judges in order that 
they might attend. Williams and Spencer hastened to 
Fayetteville, but Ashe, saying that he had “clean hands and 
a pure heart” and would disregard the clamor, remained at 
home. He, however, addressed a letter to the House ex¬ 
plaining the various matters alleged against the court as 
far as he was informed of the charges. He detailed the cir¬ 
cumstances of the case of Brice and McNeil and continued: 
“This is the foundation of that charge against the judges, 
and I suppose the charge is considered a mighty achieve¬ 
ment, a matter of great exultation and triumph, that the 
champion dare stand forth and in the face of the Legislature 
accuse the judicial power of the State for presuming to 
molest those respectable personages.” One of the charges 
was that the court had suspended an act of the Assembly, 
inasmuch as it had not dismissed the case at New Bern. 
With reference to that he observed : “If my opinion of our 
Constitution is an error, I feel it is an incurable one, for I 
had the honor to assist in the forming it, and confess I so 
designed it, and I believe every other gentleman concerned 
did also.” The delay in the trial of cases he laid largely 
at the door of the lawyers. 

The several matters alleged against the court were re¬ 
ferred to a committee of lawyers “to investigate the admin¬ 
istration of justice”; and their report being ready, at the 
request of the two judges in attendance, on January 1 
the houses met in conference. The two speakers in their 
gowns took the chairs, and a committee was sent to escort 
the judges to the chamber. Maclaine, the chairman of the 
committee, read its report as to the facts. The houses then 


1786 

Life of 
Iredell, 155 

S. R., 

XVIII, 189 


Ashe’s letter 


Ibid. 




52 


CASWELL’S SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


Jan.1787 


S. R., 

XVIII, 421, 
425, 428 


Ibid., 218 


Ibid., 477 


The judges 
thanked 


S. R., 

XVIII, 399 


Life of 
Iredell, 133 


resolved themselves into a committee of the whole, the 
Speaker surrendering the chair to Richard Dobbs Spaight, 
and the judges were heard in explanation. All matters 
against the court were in committee of the whole resolved 
in favor of the judges. The next day the report of the com¬ 
mittee of the whole was made to the House of Commons, 
and was approved by a vote of 49 to 22. It was then sent 
to the Senate and was concurred in by the Senate. Four 
days later a resolution was introduced in the Senate thank¬ 
ing the judges for their good conduct. The lawyers pro¬ 
tested. They urged particularly that there should be added 
to the resolution a paragraph declaring that “banishment 
is a punishment unknown to the laws of the State”; but 
their vigorous protests only served to strengthen the pur¬ 
pose of the majority. The resolutions, as adopted, thanked 
“the judges for their good conduct during the whole period 
of their service on the bench, and particularly in the matters 
for which they were charged in the present Assembly.” 
The resentment against the Tories was still hot; and it was 
a sustaining power for the court, although the temper of 
the House was so far modified that in that body a bill was 
passed declaring the Treaty the law of the land. While 
the lawyers could not approve of the court’s action, they 
did not sympathize wholly with Hay. At the close of the 
session Hooper wrote: “This ridiculous pursuit of Hay’s 
ended as we expected. It was conceived in spleen, and 
conducted in such headstrong passion, that after the charges 
were made evidence was wanting to support them.” But 
the controversy between the bar and the bench did not 
subside. Judge Ashe’s references to the delinquencies of 
the bar led to a grave reply in the newspapers by Iredell, 
Johnston, Davie, Hooper and others. To this he made 
answer stoutly maintaining his former criticism, and saying 
that if the lawyers thought proper to withdraw their friend¬ 
ship “I should have no objection, for that I was independ¬ 
ent in principle, in person and in purse, and should neither 





JUDICIAL INNOVATION 


53 


court their love nor fear their enmity.” For years the hos¬ 
tility continued, the lawyers strenuously endeavoring to 
write the judges off the bench. 

The court holds an act of Assembly void 

Soon after this trial, at the May term of the court, the 
motion to dismiss the case at New Bern, Bayard v. Single- 
ton , was decided by the judges, and denied, Judge Ashe 
saying: “As God said to the waters, so far and no fur¬ 
ther ; so said the people to the Legislature by the adoption of 
the Constitution.” It was thus determined by the court 
that the judicial power was independent of the legislative 
power. In the interval between the terms, the court in 
Rhode Island had made a similar declaration; but the re¬ 
fusal of the judges at May term, .1786, to obey the Act 
of Assembly was the first announcement of the principle 
involved by any court in any of the states. The action 
was widely discussed, but eventually was accepted by the 
people as the correct interpretation of the Constitution. 

Animated by patriotic sentiments the Assembly approved 
the course of Governor Caswell in appointing representatives 
to the Annapolis Conference. The necessity of enlarging 
the powers of Congress was recognized, and in an act re¬ 
citing that “this State has ever been desirous to act upon 
the enlarged system of the general good of the United 
States, without bounding its views to the narrow and selfish 
object of partial convenience,” the Assembly appointed five 
commissioners to attend the convention at Philadelphia 
and “to decide on the most effectual means to remove the 
defects of the Federal system, reporting such an act to the 
General Assembly as will effectually remedy the defects.” 
To discharge this important duty, Governor Caswell, Alex¬ 
ander Martin, Davie, Spaight and Willie Jones were chosen; 
and, should any vacancies occur, the Governor was author¬ 
ized to fill them. Of these, Martin, Davie and Spaight were 


Life of 
Iredell, 601 


1787 


Moore v. 
Bradley, 
2 Hay. 
Reports 


Tlie Phila¬ 
delphia 
Convention 


S. R., XXIV, 
791 



54 


CASWELL’S SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


1786 


S. R., 
XVIII, 86 


S. R., XXIV, 
820 


Ibid., 783 


Ibid., 802 


favorable to some changes in the Articles of Confederation, 
as also was Caswell. Willie Jones may not have been. 

Franklin still held 

Representations were made in behalf of the State of 
Franklin and were patiently heard. But the Assembly was 
not of a mind to allow the western counties to separate 
themselves under the existing conditions. On December 
14, 1786, Elisha Battle, always moderate but firm, as chair¬ 
man of a select committee, made a report to the Senate deny¬ 
ing immediate separation, but promising it when the wealth 
and number of the inhabitants should justify it. In the mean¬ 
time no taxes were to be collected for the period of the inter¬ 
regnum since 1784; and oblivion and pardon were offered, 
embracing all persons, and every kind of offense against the 
government; and the civil and military officers in office in 
1784 were continued and confirmed in their respective offices. 
To give further relief from some inconveniences, Sullivan 
was divided and the county of Hawkins was created. 

Farther to the west, on Cumberland River, Davidson 
County was likewise divided and Sumner County erected; 
and, the Indians being hostile, a military force of three com¬ 
panies was ordered to be raised for the protection of the in¬ 
habitants of that region; but as a preliminary the command¬ 
ing officer was to open a good road from Clinch Mountain 
on the Watauga to Nashville, for as yet no wheeled vehicle 
had passed into the wilderness, all provisions being trans¬ 
ported on pack horses. 

Slaves not to be imported from certain states 

Some notable changes were inaugurated in State polity. 
It was ordered that land should be taxed by the hundred 
acres, instead of at its value; the jurisdiction of magis¬ 
trates was enlarged; and the Assembly, resolving that the 
importation of slaves “is productive of evil consequences 





CENSUS 


55 


and highly impolitic,” laid a tax on their importation, and 
directed that all slaves brought into the State from any 
state that had passed an act to liberate slaves were to be 
returned to such state under heavy penalty. At that period 
there was some importation of slaves from foreign parts, 
but the number was very limited. 

At the previous session a census of the population had 
been ordered, and the report was now laid before the As¬ 
sembly. The enumeration had been imperfectly made, but 
it indicated a population in eighteen counties of 105,213. 
It showed a more considerable population in the counties 
bordering on Virginia than elsewhere, the results being 
similar to the subsequent census of 1790. 

Delegates in Congress 

The Continental Congress was then holding its sessions 
at New York; but the North Carolina delegates were not 
in attendance, and for months the State was not repre¬ 
sented. The delegates elected for the year 1786 were Nash, 
Blount, Burton, Charles Johnson, Timothy Bloodworth and 
Nathaniel Macon. Macon, however, resigned without at¬ 
tending the Congress at all. The expense was so burden¬ 
some that the position, while one of honor, was undesirable, 
and Macon declined because the provision for his support 
was inadequate. Bloodworth tried to sustain himself by a 
shipment of tar to New York, but losing money by the 
venture, also resigned. Nash died at his post, and Charles 
Johnson resigned. Cummings and White, Benjamin Haw¬ 
kins and John B. Ashe were chosen to fill the vacancies. 
They sought to so arrange it that one or more should be 
in attendance until relieved, for none could long stand the 
expense. On January 7, 1787, the Assembly brought to a 
close this session which, in many respects, was marked by 
more excitement than any other of that period. 


1786 


S. R., XXIV, 
794 


The census 


S. R., XX, 
605 



56 


1787 


Murphey’s 

Address, 

1827 


CASWELLS SECOND ADMINISTRATION 


The state trial 

Two weeks after the Assembly rose the court met at 
Warrenton to try the “state prisoners/’ chief among whom 
were McCulloh and Montford, while the many persons im¬ 
plicated touched society in almost every part of the State. 
The profound interest of the public, the gravity of the 
accusations, and the anxiety of the friends of the accused, 
invested the trial with an importance never before equaled 
in North Carolina. Alfred Moore, the Attorney-General, 
prosecuted; Iredell and Davie defended; and the surrounding 
circumstances stimulated the counsel to the most brilliant 
display of forensic eloquence. Describing two of these 
rivals for fame, Murphey has said: “Moore was a small 
man, neat in his dress and graceful in his manners; his 
voice was clear and sonorous; his perceptions quick; his 
judgment almost intuitive; his style was chaste and his 
manner of speaking animated—He spoke with ease and 
with force, enlivened his discourses with flashes of wit, and, 
when the subject required it, with all the bitterness of 
sarcasm. . . . Davie was a tall, elegant man in his person, 
graceful and commanding in his manners; his voice was 
mellow and adapted to every passion; his mind compre¬ 
hensive, yet slow in its operations when compared with 
his great rival. His style was magnificent and flowing; 
and he had a greatness of manner in public speaking which 
suited his style and gave to his speeches an imposing 
effect. While Davie ranked as one of the first orators 
Moore was held one of the first advocates of America.” 
All of these contestants were well trained in every art of 
legal warfare. In the management of the defense Iredell, 
superior to either Davie or Moore in many respects, per¬ 
formed his part with credit and renown. Every year of his 
life he attained a higher eminence in his profession, and 
at length, differing with his associates on the Supreme 
Court bench, his views were engrafted into the Constitu- 






STATE PRISONERS TRIED 


57 


tion of the United States, an enduring monument. Hun¬ 
dreds of persons were in attendance at the trial and all eyes 
were fixed on the great drama being enacted at Warrenton. 

For nearly a month the court was in session. Henry 
Montford was acquitted, but Benjamin McCulloh, John 
Sheppard, John McNeer, John Price, William Faircloth, 

Thomas Butcher, James Holmes, McCarthy, Mann, Phil¬ 
lips and several others were convicted. A fine sufficed as 
punishment for all but McCulloch and Sheppard. The 
former in addition to a fine of 4,000 pounds, was sentenced 
to be confined in Warrenton jail for twelve months; but 
at the end of eleven months because of his ill health, he 
was allowed his liberty.. It was, however, said that he was 
a victim to the indignation and resentment of the people, 
and that he was charged beyond his real offense. His 
brother-in-law, John Stokes, wrote: “I wish I was igno- f 
rant of it. I think of it by day; it is represented to me iredeii, 157 
in my dreams, which are wont to make it nothing but a 
phantom. The blushing morn establishes the reality and 
renews my grief.” 



CHAPTER I\ 


The State of Franklin 

Caswell’s policy with respect to the Franks.—Sevier and Shelby 
make an agreement.—The Franklin Assembly repudiates the 
action, and proposes to suppress all North Carolina authority.— 
Caswell urges moderation.—Indian war on the frontier.—Major 
Evans’s expedition to the Cumberland. The disintegration of 
Franklin begins.—Representatives elected to North Carolina As¬ 
sembly.—The clashing in Washington County.—Sevier engages in 
war with the Creeks.—The last Assembly of the fading State.— 
Delegates chosen on behalf of Franklin.—The Assembly meets at 
Tarborough.—The act of pardon extended.—The policy of concilia¬ 
tion bears fruit.—The seizure of Sevier’s negroes by local officers. 
—He attempts their rescue.—Tipton defies him.—His embarrass¬ 
ment.—Maxwell’s militia arrives.—The collision.—The Franks re¬ 
tire.—Sevier to the frontier.—General Martin secures submission. 
—Sevier invades Indian territory.—Governor Johnston suggests 
arrest of Sevier.—Judge Spencer issues the warrant. He is ar¬ 
rested.—Is conveyed to Morganton.—Escapes.—The act of pardon 
again extended,—Sevier declared ineligible to office, but other¬ 
wise pardoned.—The Convention at Greenville.—Sevier elected to 
North Carolina Assembly August, 1789.—His disability removed.— 
He takes his seat.—The end of Franklin. 


Hardly had the spectacular trial of the state prisoners 
closed at Warrenton before conditions at the west, becoming 
more acute, claimed Governor Caswell’s anxious attention, 
st r., xxii, Q as hi n g between the two courts and the county officers 
was inevitable. To avert trouble, in March General Evan 
Shelby, acting in behalf of those adhering to North Carolina, 
and Governor Sevier entered into an agreement that while 
the respective courts might try criminal cases they should 
not proceed to any civil business except to prove wills and 
deeds, and that the inhabitants might pay their taxes either 
to North Carolina or to the State of Franklin as they 
might select: and further, that the sheriffs and jailers under 
the Franklin government should receive felons committed 
by North Carolina courts. This agreement, tolerating North 
Carolina authority, was, however, immediately repudiated 
by the Franklin Fegislature, then in session. That body, 




SEVIER DEFIANT 


59 


rejecting every purpose of temporizing, acted with vigor ^ 

and vehemence. It passed an act punishing with fine and 
imprisonment any person who should act as a magistrate, 
or in any other civil capacity, under the authority of North 
Carolina, and it directed the Governor to raise the militia 
and oppose by force the operation of any North Carolina 
law, authorizing a bounty of 400 acres of land to those 
who would enlist; and, to draw the wavering to their side, 
a land office was opened where grants were to be obtained 
on very easy terms. Sevier’s attitude, which had been 
moderate, now was completely changed. He wrote to Cas¬ 
well : “We shall continue to act independent and would 
rather sufifer death, in all its various and frightful shapes, 
than conform to anything that is disgraceful.” The pur- R xxn 
pose to maintain independence was fixed and strong, while 680 
those who adhered to North Carolina were equally reso¬ 
lute and determined. The division between the two parties 
among the inhabitants was clearly drawn, and the circum¬ 
stances of every day intensified the estrangement. Toler¬ 
ation gave way to bitterness. In, May the situation was 
so acute that General Shelby notified Caswell that hostili¬ 
ties were about to begin, and unless the government inter¬ 
fered, bloodshed would at once take place. It was no 
part of Caswell’s policy to precipitate a situation where he 
would have to subjugate the inhabitants, although in 
revolt. He hastened to urge the officers holding North 
Carolina commissions to use the utmost moderation. To 
dampen their ardor and restrain their action, he declared ibid., 686 
that he could not send them any assistance, and he begged 
them not to engage in a civil war. His information was 
conflicting. David Campbell assured him that nineteen- 
twentieths of ithe inhabitants favored separation, while 
Thomas Hutchins reported that, although the people of 
Greene were much divided, in the other two counties two- 
thirds were willing to return to their allegiance. In the 
meantime the force, which the Assembly had directed to 



6o 


THE STATE OF FRANKLIN 


■Caswell’s 

moderation 


S. R., XX, 
277 


be raised to cut the road to Davidson, was being recruited; 
and Colonel James Martin, the Indian agent, went among 
the Indians to prevail on them to desist from hostilities. 
At length, towards the close of April, General Shelby 
called together Tipton, Maxwell and Hutchins, the colonels 
of the three counties, and they united in urging that the 
only hope of averting bloodshed was for North Carolina 
to send from Burke a thousand men to uphold her authority. 
Intent on the supremacy of their faction and on the sup¬ 
pression of their opponents, they sought to strengthen their 
cause by a display of force that would deter the Franks 
from persisting in their defiance. But it must not be for¬ 
gotten that they held commissions from the State charging 
them with the duty of upholding and maintaining her su¬ 
premacy. Caswell, however, relied on gentler means of 
persuasion and hoped for the healing influence of time. In 
the meanwhile, farther in the interior the savages were 
murdering the settlers. The Mississippi was claimed by the 
Spaniards, who, from their stronghold at Mobile, had free 
communication with the tribes in the interior; while the 
Frenchmen on the upper Mississippi had trade relations 
with the Indians, which bred a jealousy of the encroaching 
pioneers. The savages were thus influenced to continue 
warfare. In June, from the Cumberland came a cry for 
immediate help. Anthony Bledsoe wrote: “Nothing but 
the distress of a bleeding country could induce me to trouble 
you on so disagreeable a subject—Enclosed you have a list 
of the killed in this quarter since our departure from this 
country to the Assembly. This, with the numbers wounded, 
with the large numbers of horses stolen from the inhabi¬ 
tants, has in a degree, flagged the spirits of the people/’ 
And the next month, James Robertson advised Governor 
Caswell that there had been a hot war with the Chickamauga 
Indians; that he had raised 130 men and gone to the front, 
where he found that the Indians had been joined by French- 


Ibid., 731 





DIFFICULT EXPEDITION 


61 


men from Detroit who were inflaming them to hostility. 
In one of the encounters, three Frenchmen and a French 
woman had been killed. He urged the Governor to hurry 
on the force the Assembly had ordered for their protection. 
The commander of that detachment, Major Thomas Evans, 
had met with such obstacles that the middle of August found 
him still east of the Blue Ridge, and Caswell indignantly 
ordered him to proceed, not delaying to open the road to 
Nashville but pressing on to the relief of the people. Evans, 
however, could not scale the Alleghany Mountains. Di¬ 
verted from the direct course, he passed through Cumber¬ 
land Gap and made his way into Kentucky, his men cheer¬ 
fully enduring their march through the wilderness where 
no supplies could be obtained. In Kentucky he could pur¬ 
chase no provisions either on public or private credit, and 
was driven to furlough his men until by their labor they 
could procure sufficient food to last them to Nashville. At 
length, in the middle of October he reached Davidson 
County after a toilsome journey of 400 miles. There he 
found the inhabitants were being daily murdered, and he 
hurried advices home that he himself was hourly expecting 
attack. 

While such was the critical condition on the Cumberland, 
on the Watauga influences were silently at work under¬ 
mining the foundations of the new State. The moderation 
and firmness of the North Carolina Assembly, its tender of 
oblivion and remission of taxes, together with the hope 
held out of eventual consent to the separation, had a soft¬ 
ening influence on the public mind. But for a period there 
was so much bitterness, and the current was so strong for 
separation that General Shelby himself yielded to it, re¬ 
signed his commission as brigadier, retired from the service 
of North Carolina, and recommended to Governor Caswell 
that separation should be conceded. Yet notwithstanding 
his defection, and despite the strenuous efforts of Sevier 
to sustain his government, the enthusiasm that had at- 


1787 


Indian war 


S. R., XX, 
786 


The end 
approaches 



62 


THE STATE OF FRANKLIN 


Aug. 1787 


The election 


S. R„ XX, 
120, 302 


Local 

friction 


tended the first movements for independence gradually dis¬ 
appeared. When the August elections came on, only two 
counties failed to elect representatives to the North Caro¬ 
lina Assembly. In Greene, David Campbell, the presiding 
judge of Franklin State, and in Washington, where the 
Sevier party had been strong, Colonel Tipton were elected 
to the Senate. Sullivan elected General Joseph Martin, 
and Hawkins sent to the House of Commons Henderson and 
Marshall; all of whom and their colleagues had at one time 
been adherents of the new State. Only Sevier and Caswell 
counties, well on the frontier—where land had been occupied 
contrary to the North Carolina laws, stood faithful. The 
former lay between the Little Tennessee and the French 
Broad, within the Indian reservation, where more than i,ooo 
families had located, and the latter in the forks of the 
French Broad and Holston. Still there were many who 
yet adhered to Franklin; and in all the counties conflicts 
were continually, arising between the courts held under 
the authority of the two different states. In Washington 
County particularly these clashings reached a great height, 
being colored by personal enmity as well as political antag¬ 
onism. In that county resided both Governor Sevier and 
Col. John Tipton, neighbors and once friends; but when 
on the repeal of the Act of Cession Colonel Tipton aban¬ 
doned the new government which he had aided to frame 
and renewed his allegiance to North Carolina withdrawing 
his support from Governor Sevier, a bitter personal feud 
sprang up between them. And this was intensified by the 
circumstance that while Colonel Tipton was the clerk of 
the North Carolina county court, James Sevier a son of 
the Governor, became clerk of the Franklin court, and 
each dominated the justices and officers of their respective 
courts. In August, 1787, Colonel Tipton, at the head of 
some fifty men, undertook to take the records of the Frank¬ 
lin court, and quickly two hundred of the Franks embodied 
to oppose him. A rumor was that their purpose was to 





WAR AGAINST INDIANS 


63 


seize Governor Sevier, and fifteen hundred of his follow¬ 
ers rushed to protect him. The error, however, was made 
known, and no blood was shed; but there were personal 
encounters between Tipton and the Seviers. 

About that time Governor Sevier, seeing that the tide 
was turning against the continuance of his government, de¬ 
termined on strengthening his cause with the people by 
prosecuting an Indian war. Far to .the south the Creeks 
were giving trouble, and Governor Sevier entered into ar¬ 
rangements with the Governor of Georgia for their con¬ 
quest. In September, with some difficulty, a quorum of 
the Franklin Assembly met at Greenville, but confidence in 
the new State had ebbed so fast that Sevier was able to 
secure the passage of an act providing the means for carry¬ 
ing on the projected war only by a compromise. He agreed 
that two delegates might be chosen to attend the North 
Carolina Assembly and make such representations as they 
should think proper. Judge Campbell and Landon Carter 
were elected delegates for this purpose, the former having 
been already chosen to represent Greene County in the 
North Carolina Assembly. This action indicated that the 
last stage was being reached in the existence of the new 
State. Gradually the commonwealth of Franklin was pas¬ 
sing away. Hardly had its Assembly adjourned, and it 
was the last Assembly of Franklin that met, before Gover¬ 
nor Sevier began to prepare for his campaign. In the great 
bend of the Tennessee, in the Creek country, lay some very 
desirable land, and it was arranged that this should be re¬ 
served for the Franklin volunteers. On November 28 
Governor Sevier announced that every private should have 
640 acres in the great bend, and officers in proportion; and 
the work of enlistment went briskly on. 

The North Carolina Assembly 

The General Assembly met at Tarboro on November 19, 
and both the representatives elected by the counties beyond 


Sept. 1787 


Ramsay: 
Hist, of 
Franklin, 
402 


Sevier’s 

action 


Ibid., 389 


1787 



64 


THE STATE OF FRANKLIN 


Sept. 1787 


S. R., XX, 
120 


Ibid., 225 


Ibid., 235 


Sevier 

insulted 


the mountains, and the delegates chosen by the Legislature 
of Franklin, attended the session. The former were admit¬ 
ted to seats, and the latter given a respectful hearing when 
they urged the continued desire of the people for separation. 
The Assembly, however, held steadfast to its purpose. 
James Martin was appointed brigadier of the district, and 
a special committee was directed to report measures to quiet 
the disorders in the western counties. They advised a fur¬ 
ther extension of the act of pardon, and that all suits for 
nonpayment of taxes should be discontinued; and these 
measures were adopted. The policy of moderation and con¬ 
ciliation was bearing its fruits and North Carolina was 
supplanting the State of Franklin whose Legislature had 
ceased to exist, whose judicial officers were no longer act¬ 
ing, and whose executive after March would have no claim 
for the exercise of authority. Governor Sevier’s term was 
to end on March 3, and no successor had been chosen; 
and, there being no Assembly, none could be chosen. The 
State of Franklin was about to expire by a natural dissolu¬ 
tion, and without any great convulsion or bloodshed. But 
now an incident occurred attended by unfortunate 
consequences. 

During the fall of 1787 a judgment having been obtained 
against Governor Sevier in one of the North Carolina 
courts, an execution against his property was put in the 
hands of the sheriff. The levy was made on some of his 
negroes on his plantation, and for fear of interference, the 
sheriff removed the negroes to the premises of Colonel 
Tipton for safe keeping. It was a great error in judgment 
and an improper exercise of power. Necessarily it in¬ 
flamed Governor Sevier and was a personal affront that he 
would not brook. Had no such incident occurred the State 
of Franklin would probably have faded away, leaving, doubt¬ 
less, a memory of disappointment but without pangs of bit- - 
terness. At the moment, Sevier was in Greene County col¬ 
lecting volunteers for the expedition against the Creeks. 





SEVIER AND TIPTON 


65 


O11 learning of this seizure of his property and the removal 
of his negroes to the premises of Colonel Tipton, he dis¬ 
patched a messenger to Caswell County, February 15, say¬ 
ing that the Tipton party had got very insolent and that 
he had ordered fifteen men out of every, company to turn 
out. He was “satisfied that a small exertion will settle the 
matter to our satisfaction.” Tipton, on being informed 
of Sevier’s action, wrote on February 25 : “The rebels are 
again rising. Sevier is now making his last effort. This 
day they are to meet at Greene. Tomorrow at Jonesboro, 
and Wednesday, if not before, they push here.” And he 
called for aid. A few friends reached him in time. But 
soon the Governor with 150 men and a small cannon ap¬ 
peared on the scene and demanded an unconditional sur¬ 
render. Tipton valiantly defied him. Truly Sevier’s situ¬ 
ation was embarrassing. He had no desire for bloodshed. 
His commission as Governor was to expire within three 
days, and his State had virtually ceased to exist. Stigmatized 
as a rebel by the Carolina officers, he doubtless com¬ 
prehended that to use military force against the Carolina 
authorities placed in jeopardy the lives of himself and his 
followers. It was levying war and high treason. For 
nearly four years two conflicting governments had been 
carried on in that wilderness; and despite personal enmities, 
despite the clashing of the courts and the antagonistic au¬ 
thority of the militia officers, there had been no serious 
collision. This of itself is high evidence of the wisdom, 
courage and moderation of Sevier, as well as of the for¬ 
bearance of the inhabitants generally. Now circumstances 
springing from his personal affairs brought the Governor 
face to face with an emergency threatening bloodshed. 
He had probably hoped to redress his wrongs by a show 
of superior strength; but a hard fate had brought him 
into a position from which he could not retreat with credit, 
nor proceed without hazarding consequences for which he 
had no heart. He became a prey to conflicting emotions—- 
5 


Feb. 1788 


Sevier arms 


His 

situation 








66 


THE STATE OF FRANKLIN 


sad and dejected. There was no assault made on the 
house; but some firing took place, not in Sevier’s presence. 
Those passing into Tipton’s premises were fired on, and 
one or two killed and wounded, but there was no engage¬ 
ment. At length, in the early morning of February 29, 
Colonel Maxwell, of Sullivan County, to whom Tipton had 
appealed for aid, approached with his militia. He had made 
a night march. The weather was very cold, and there was 
a blinding snow storm. As he neared the scene about 
sunrise, Maxwell saw Sevier’s men advancing and a col¬ 
lision occurred. Maxwell's militia discharged a volley 
and raised a great shout, which led Tipton to sally out, tak¬ 
ing Sevier’s party in the rear or flank. As it probably had 
never been Sevier’s purpose to engage in battle, he and 
his men quickly dispersed, followed, but not aggressively, 
by the militia. On March 3 Sevier sent a verbal message 
that if his life was spared, he would submit to North Caro¬ 
lina. Tipton, in reply, offered to cease hostilities, giving 
Sevier and his party until the nth to submit to the laws. 
The council of the Franklin State replied that they would 
be obedient to the laws of the Union, and they wished a 
convention of the people called at once. As for Governor 
Sevier, they stipulated that he should be left at liberty 
to act for himself; and he, with some anxiety, required a 
plain understanding as to what he could depend on. Ten 
days later Gen. Joseph Martin, the brigadier of the district, 
appealed to General Kennedy to bring about a reconciliation. 
He declared that he would be sorry to imbrue his hands 
in the blood of his countrymen, but ‘'nothing will do but 
a submission to the laws of North Carolina.” This is the 
only way, he urged, that would relieve Governor Sevier 
from a very disagreeable situation. He offered Kennedy 
a commission under North Carolina, and urged him to 
prepare for action, as a general Indian war was expected. 
Martin’s conciliatory steps and firm action had a very sal- 






ACTS OF TREASON 


67 


utary effect. All opposition ceased. Every trace of the 
State of Franklin disappeared. 

In the meantime Sevier, no longer governor, left Wash¬ 
ington County and took shelter in the distant settlements. 
A period of repose now set in; but in June Sevier, having 
gathered some forty bold and daring men, fell on the Hi- 
wassees and killed twenty of them, following this with an¬ 
other raid and bringing in fourteen scalps; and then, in 
July, he made a third invasion of the Indian country which 
precipitated an Indian war. 

Notwithstanding that the State of Franklin had fallen, 
Sevier and his friends indulged a hope that the State Con¬ 
vention, which was to meet at Hillsboro in July to consider 
the proposed Federal Constitution might cede the western 
territory, or otherwise provide for a separation, but that 
body adjourned without action favorable to their desires. 
On the other hand Governor Johnston, because of advices 
from General Martin, called his Council to meet at Hills¬ 
boro in July; and, on receiving information of Sevier’s bat¬ 
tle with Maxwell, while the Convention was still in ses¬ 
sion, he wrote to Judge Campbell: “It has been represented 
to the Executive that John Sevier, who styles himself Cap¬ 
tain General of the State of Franklin, has been guilty of 
high treason in levying troops to oppose the laws and gov¬ 
ernment of this State, and has with an armed force put to 
death several good citizens. If these facts shall appear 
to you .by the affidavit of credible persons, you will issue 
your warrant to apprehend him.” Judge Campbell, how¬ 
ever, took no action. Eater, Judge Samuel Spencer crossed 
the mountains to hold court at Jonesboro, and he issued 
a warrant for the arrest of Sevier. On the evening of 
October 9 Sevier with a number of men had a violent al¬ 
tercation with one Deadricks in Washington County, and 
Colonel Tipton, armed with the bench warrant and doubt¬ 
less feeling that his hour of triumph had arrived, hastened 
in pursuit with a body of horsemen. At early dawn the 


July 1788 


Franklin 
passes away 


Judge 

Spencer’s 

warrant 






68 


THE STATE OF FRANKLIN 


Sevier taken 


He escapes 

Nov. 1788 

S. R., XXIV, 
955 

S. R., XXI, 
523 


posse surrounded the premises of widow Brown, where 
Sevier lodged that night, and at sunrise the arrest was made. 
Sevier was taken to Jonesboro, and then was conveyed to 
Morganton for trial. It is said that he was treated with 
great discourtesy and malevolence, and for a time was 
subjected to the indignity of being handcuffed; but the 
details are obscure, and the circumstances were such as to 
require unusual care on the part of those charged with 
his safekeeping. In a letter to the General Assembly he 
alleged that he “was treated with wanton cruelty and savage 
insult,” and he complained of being “borne off out of the 
district” for trial. Arrived at Morganton he was released 
on parole to visit a brother-in-law in the vicinity. The court 
being convened, he attended agreeably to his parole. In 
the meantime, two sons and other friends had followed to 
rescue him. “At night, when the court broke, and the 
people dispersed, they with the Governor pushed forward 
towards the mountains with the greatest rapidity and, 
before morning, arrived at them, and were beyond the 
reach of any who might think proper to pursue.” Appar¬ 
ently no further effort was made to capture him. At the 
November session of the Assembly the act of pardon and 
oblivion was again passed, but it was provided that Sevier 
was so far excepted that he should not be entitled to hold 
any office under the State. 

Congress and the states of Georgia and North Carolina 
had taken measures with the view of quieting the hostility 
of the Indians; and on a conference they agreed to peace. 
But shortly afterwards Sevier with a party of men went 
into one of their towns, all the braves being off on a hunt, 
and brought away twenty-nine women and children; and 
the people on the frontier realized the necessity of protect¬ 
ing themselves. 

On the 12th of January, 1789, at a convention held in 
Greene County it was resolved to petition North Carolina to 
divide the State and cede the territory west of the mountains 








TREASON' COND ON ED 


69 


to Congress; and that John Sevier keep the command of the 
inhabitants. On being informed of these proceedings Gov¬ 
ernor Johnston wrote to Martin that "Sevier appears to be 
incorrigible and I fear we will have no peace in your quar¬ 
ter till he is proceeded against to the last extremity”; but 
he urged Martin to act with prudence and conciliation both 
in regard to the inhabitants and the Indians. 

At the August election, however, Sevier abandoned his 
opposition to the State of North Carolina. He was elected 
to the State Senate; and appeared along with the other 
members when in November the Assembly met at Fayette¬ 
ville. His disabilities had not been removed; but during 
the session he filed a memorial. On November 30 a commit¬ 
tee reported that when the people of the western counties 
first attempted to subvert the government, Sevier opposed 
them and prevented elections from being held in two of the 
counties, and that he was not as highly reprehensible as 
many others. A bill was therefore passed including him 
in the general pardon; and further it was declared that he 
still held the office of brigadier general under his original 
appointment in 1784. And thus the last vestige of the 
State of Franklin was by conciliation and moderation 
buried out of sight without any punishment of any person 
for the offense of insurrection. 


1789 

S. R., XXI, 
722 

Ibid., 537 


Ibid., 616 


Nov., 1789 


Sevier 

pardoned 



CHAPTER V 


New Government Proposed 


The Philadelphia Convention.—Virginia proposes a national 
government.—North Carolina delegates assent.—New Jersey 
seeks to amend the old Articles.—Hamilton’s plan.—The dead¬ 
lock.—North Carolina votes with the small states and secures 
state equality in the Senate.—Her delegates act with unanimity. 
—Caswell urges a national government.—Davie and Martin re¬ 
turn home.—The word “National” freely used in rough draft.— 
By the vote of Massachusetts importation of slaves allowed until 
1808.—On revision word “National” eliminated.—Advocates of the 
Constitution called Federalists.—The instrument signed.—The 
exposition given by Blount, Spaight and Williamson.—The im¬ 
portant action of the North Carolina delegation.—The August 
elections.—The Federals successful.—The Assembly meets at 
Tarborough.—The Treaty of Peace declared the law of the land. 
—Iredell appointed to revise the laws.—The Legislature recom¬ 
mends the pardon of Bradley, and of those convicted of fraud 
against the State.—Convention called to consider proposed Con¬ 
stitution.—Raleigh Inlet.—Samuel Johnston elected Governor.— 
Atmore’s visit.—Washington, Tarborough, New Bern.—The As¬ 
sembly at Tarborough.—Willis.—-Lumberton.—No mails.—Books. 


1787 


S. R., XX, 
610 


Ibid., 611 


Ibid., 129 


Framing- the Constitution of the United States 

In February, Congress, responsive to the recommenda¬ 
tion of the Annapolis Conference, adopted a resolution ad¬ 
vising the states that it was expedient that a convention 
should be held at Philadelphia in May, for the sole and 
express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation 
and reporting such alterations and provisions as should be 
adequate to the exigency of government and the preser¬ 
vation of the Union. As we have seen the North Carolina 
Assembly appointed delegates to attend the proposed con¬ 
vention. Willie Jones found that he could not attend at the 
time appointed, and he requested that some person “should 
be appointed in my place as a matter of so much importance 
must necessarily require the fullest representation.” Nor 
could Caswell attend, because of ill health. To fill these 
vacancies the Governor and Council appointed Dr. Hugh 
Williamson and John Gray Blount, then a member of Con- 






PLANNING CLOSER UNION 


7 1 


gress. In May, Martin, Spaight, Davie and Williamson [ 

reached Philadelphia. There Blount joined them for a few 
days in June, but to make a quorum in Congress soon re¬ 
turned to New York. It was not until August that he 
took his seat permanently in the Convention. On May 25 
delegates from seven states being in attendance, the Con¬ 
vention was organized. Virginia, the chief state of the 
Union, was the originator of the movement. Her son, 
Washington, presided over the body, and she presented the 
first series of resolves, outlining a new system of general 
government. The Convention was called by Congress for 
the purpose of amending the Articles of Confederation. 

Virginia, at the outset, proposed to overthrow the Con- Virginia’s 
federacy and establish a national government. The Virginia plan 
resolutions provided for a national legislature with repre¬ 
sentation based on the number of free inhabitants, or on 
the contributions to the public treasury. The idea of 
state equality, the corner-stone of the Confederation, was 
entirely eliminated. The national legislature was to con¬ 
sist of two branches, the one chosen by the people of the 
several states, the other selected by that branch from 
persons nominated by the state legislatures. There was to 
be a national executive chosen by the national legislature. 

The powers of government were large and supreme. This 
plan, providing for a national government, was antagonized 
by those who sought to maintain a federative system, and 
there was a clash of opinions from the first. To test the 
sentiment of the body, Randolph of Virginia offered a 
resolution that “a national government ought to be estab¬ 
lished, consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary and ex¬ 
ecutive.” The great states, Virginia, Massachusetts, Penn¬ 
sylvania and the two Carolinas, voted affirmatively; as 
also did Delaware. They carried the measure. The Con¬ 
federacy, with its state equality, was to be supplanted by 
a national system. That much was fixed at the outset. 

, ‘ ^ it 

Although, because the members were sworn to secrecy, 



72 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 


1787 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
161 


Hamilton’s 

plan 


Davie could not divulge the proceedings of the Convention, 
he yet could ask advice, and on the introduction of the 
Virginia resolves, he wrote to Iredell: “Yesterday nine 
states were represented, and the great business of the meet¬ 
ing was brought forward by Virginia. . . . Be so good 

as to favor me by the next post with your opinion how 
far the introduction of judicial and executive powers, de¬ 
rived from Congress, would be politic or practicable in the 
states. And whether absolute or limited powers for the 
regulation, both as to exports or imports, would be best. 
I shall trouble you frequently, and I shall expect your 
opinion without reserve.” 

Later came up the question of representation. North 
Carolina and the other large states voted for proportional 
representation in both of the branches of the legislature, 
and for a time it was so determined. But June 15, New 
Jersey offered a resolution that the Convention should 
merely amend the Articles of Confederation, enlarging its 
powers, providing for a President and Supreme Court, but 
leaving the Union as it was, a Federal Union, each state 
casting a single vote in Congress and with a negative on 
the proceedings. This was the signal for a heated contest 
in the midst of which Alexander Hamilton, against the 
wishes of the other delegates from New York, offered his 
plan of government. He proposed that the President 
should be chosen for life; that the Senators should also hold 
for life; that the governors of the states should be ap¬ 
pointed by the general government and should have a nega¬ 
tive on all laws passed by the state legislatures. In effect 
his proposition was to establish an elective limited mon¬ 
archy, and to reduce the states to provinces. In the bit¬ 
ter debate that followed the small states were pressed to 
the wall, and with hot indignation they declared that if 
turned adrift by their larger sisters they would look to some 
foreign state to take them by the hand. 




DEADLOCK BROKEN 


73 


At length, July 2, there was a deadlock, and the Conven¬ 
tion was about to end in failure when all matters at issue 
were referred to a grand committee of one from each state. 
Davie represented North Carolina on that committee. Con¬ 
cessions were made; and it was proposed that in the first 
branch representation should be according to population, 
while in the second branch the equality of the states was 
to be observed, but money bills were to originate only in 
the first branch. North Carolina now voted with the small 
states, giving them the majority, and by her action the 
deadlock was broken and state equality in the Senate was 
secured. Discomfited by this turn in affairs, Virginia and 
the other large states were much dissatisfied. This mem¬ 
orable vote by North Carolina turned the tide which had 
been surging so strongly towards the national system with¬ 
out any element of state equality, and the great states, de¬ 
feated in their purposes, no longer insisted with vigor on 
a constitution deficient in safeguards for their weaker 
sisters. 

In determining the basis of representation, North Caro¬ 
lina declared that she would never confederate on any terms 
that did not rate the slaves as at least three-fifths for fed¬ 
eral population; and Davie, who took high rank among the 
delegates, closed an impassioned speech: “If the eastern 
states, therefore, mean to exclude them altogether, the busi¬ 
ness is at an end.” 

It was while the proceedings were pregnant with this 
great matter that Williamson wrote: “The diverse and al¬ 
most opposite interests that are to be reconciled occasion us 
to progress very slowly. I fear that Davie will be obliged 
to leave us before the business is finished, which will be 
a heavy stroke to the delegation.” Martin wrote to Cas¬ 
well that the North Carolina deputies were generally unan¬ 
imous in all the great matters; and Williamson with jus¬ 
tifiable pride also said to the Governor: “We shall on some 
future occasion be at liberty to explain to your Excellency 


1787 


North 

Carolina’s 

action 


Elliott: 
Debates, 303 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
163 




'i m 


74 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 



. R., XX, 

i 66 


Ibid., 752 


Life of 
Iredell, 
II, 167 


S. R., XX, 
763 


how difficult a part has fallen to the share of your State in 
the course of this business, and I flatter myself greatly if 
we have not sustained it with a principle and firmness that 
will entitle us to what we have never asked for—the thanks 
of the public.” 

Nor were the deputies without encouraging words from 
home. Caswell, who shared with Martin the greatest per¬ 
sonal popularity, wrote July 26, to Spaight: “I am induced 
to think that the plan of a national parliament and su¬ 
preme executive with adequate powers to the government 
of the Union will be more suitable to our situation and 
circumstances than any other, but I should wish also an 
independent judicial department to decide any contest that 
may happen between the United States and individual 
states and between one state and another; this, however, 
is only a hint. You may not see the necessity of it as for¬ 
cibly as I do, and I presume it is now too late to ofifer any 
reasons for the establishment, as that matter I flatter mv- 
self is before this time got over: all I can say respecting 
the Convention is to recommend a perseverance to the end, 
to the deputies from this State. 

At length the general principles of a constitution were 
substantially agreed on, and on July 22 Williamson again 
wrote: “After much labor the Convention has nearly 
agreed on the principles and outline of the system, which 
we hope may fairly be called an amendment of the Federal 
Government. This system we expect will in three or four 
days be referred to a small committee to be properly dressed: 
and if we like it when clothed and equipped, we shall 
submit it to Congress.” At this time, too, Martin wrote 
to the Governor: “Believe me, it is no small task to bring 
to a conclusion the great objects of a united government, 
viewed in different points by thirteen independent sover¬ 
eignties ; United America must have one general interest 
as a nation, at the same time preserving the particular in¬ 
terests of the individual state." Finally the special com- 



ESTIMATE OF DAVIE’S SERVICE 


75 


mittee, on August 6, reported the rough draft clothed, 
as indicated by Williamson, which was then taken up para¬ 
graph by paragraph. 

A fortnight later Martin again wrote to Caswell: 
“Though I have not told your Excellency affirmatively what 
the Convention has done, I can tell you negatively what 
they have not done. They are not about to create a king, 
as has been represented unfavorably in some of the east¬ 
ern states/’ The news of Hamilton’s plan had gotten 
abroad and had created a stir in New England; indeed, the 
rumor went so far as to indicate the particular person who 
was to be invited to the throne in America. 

Davie had then left to return home, and Williamson, 
the most important man of the delegation because of his 
learning, wide information, talents and reputation, writing 
to Caswell, said: “I regret his departure very much, as his 
conduct here has induced me to think highly of his abilities 
and political principles.” A few days later, Alexander 
Martin also returned to North Carolina ; the representatives 
remaining being Williamson, Blount and Spaight. 

The purpose to establish a national government was gen¬ 
erally entertained; so, in the draft of the Constitution, 
all of the departments were designated as national, and 
that term was freely used throughout the document; nor 
in the Convention was it objected to. In such a system, 
the federative power of an absolute negative in a single 
state could have no place. On August 12 Spaight wrote 
to Iredell: “It is not probable that the United States will 
in future be so ideal as to risk their happiness upon the 
unanimity of the whole; and thereby put it in the power 
of one or two states to defeat the most salutary proposi¬ 
tions and prevent the Union from rising out of that con¬ 
temptible situation to which it is at. present reduced.” 

There was a provision in the instrument as reported by 
the committee, that the importation of such persons as the 
several states shall think proper to admit shall not be 


1787 


S. R., XX, 
764 


Ibid., 765 


Life of 
Iredell, 
II, 168 


Importation 
of slaves 





76 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 


1787 


The 

Constitution 


“National” 

eliminated 


prohibited”; and another, that “No navigation act shall be 
passed without the assent of two-thirds of the members 
of each house. The latter was distasteful to Massachu¬ 
setts, while the first was repugnant to all the states north 
of the Carolinas. In the Convention it was proposed to 
insert “free” before the word persons, and Georgia and 
South Carolina became alarmed. They insisted on a right 
to import slaves. The Convention hastily adjourned, and 
the next morning these two clauses were referred to a spe¬ 
cial committee of one from each state. In that committee 
South Carolina and Massachusetts voted together, and their 
respective wishes were consummated. Slaves were allowed 
to be imported until 1808, by the joint vote of New Eng¬ 
land and the Southern States, except Virginia; and by 
the aid of South Carolina all restrictions on the power of 
Congress to regulate commerce were removed. Thus with 
the assent of New England the institution of slavery was 
largely fastened on the country and rendered of much con¬ 
cern by the continued importation of African slaves, New 
England being more interested in the slave trade than the 
southern commonwealths. 

On September 8 the Constitution having been agreed on, 
the document was referred to a committee to revise its 
style, and when, four days later, the instrument was re¬ 
ported the word “national” was nowhere to be found in it; 
and although all of its national features remained intact, 
those who advocated its adoption assumed the name of 
Federalists. It was to be adopted by the people of each 
state that should ratify it. On Saturday, September 15, 
the Constitution was agreed to, and then it was signed 
and transmitted to Congress. On September 18, Blount, 
Spaight and Williamson united in explaining to Governor 
Caswell the provisions. of the instrument. No exertions 
had been wanting to guard and promote the particular 
interests of North Carolina. Attention was directed “to 
the representation in the second branch of the national 



RESULTS SUMMED UP 


77 


legislature being according to numbers, that is to say: ac¬ 
cording to the whole number of white inhabitants added to 
three-fifths of the blacks. . . . We had many things 

to hope from a national government, and the chief thing 
we had to fear from such a government was the risk of 
unequal or heavy taxation. . . . It is provided in the 

ninth section of Article i that no capitation or other direct 
tax shall be laid except in proportion to the number of 
inhabitants, in which number five blacks are only counted 
as three. If a land tax is laid we are to pay the same 
rate; for example, fifty citizens of North Carolina can be 
taxed no more for all their lands than fifty citizens in one 
of the eastern states. . . . When it is also considered 
that five negroes are only to be charged the same poll 
tax as three whites, the advantage must be considerably in¬ 
creased under the proposed form of government. The 
Southern States have also a much better security for the 
return of slaves who might endeavor to escape than they 
had under the original Confederation.” And the delegates 
added: “While we were taking so much care to guard our¬ 
selves against being overreached, and to form rules of tax¬ 
ation that might operate in our favor, it was not to be 
supposed that our northern brethren were inattentive to 
their particular interests.” Particularly, they mentioned the 
power to regulate commerce. “This is what the Southern 
States gave in exchange for the advantages we mentioned 
above; but we beg leave to observe, in the course of this 
interchange, North Carolina does not appear to us to 
have given up anything, for we are doubtless the most 
independent of the Southern States; we are able to carry 
our own produce; and if the spirit of navigation and ship 
building is cherished, we will soon be able to carry for our 
neighbors.” 

In the debates in the Convention, Williamson, highly cul¬ 
tured and a man of details, took an active part; and Davie 
won particular encomiums for his talents and devotion to 


Taxes 


Commerce 




78 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 


1787 


Life of 
Iredell, 
II, 177 


The parties 


Ibid., 170 


Jbid., 181 


business. It appears that the delegation acted as a unit, 
and North Carolina exerted a considerable influence. It 
was by her vote that the equality of the states was pre¬ 
served in the Senate, and the general plan made acceptable 
to the smaller states. But for North Carolina's action 
on that question, the smaller states might have withdrawn, 
and the new Union might not have embraced them. 

The August election 

In North Carolina, while the Convention was in session, 
its work not yet done, and the general result unknown, the 
August elections took place. There was much rancor 
and political asperity evolved in the contest. Already those 
who favored a closer union of the states began to be known 
as “Federals”; and their opponents, who were either con¬ 
tent with the Confederation, or advocated only slight 
amendments, were called “Anti-Federals” or Republicans. 
Great bitterness was infused into the canvass, and in many 
places tumults and assaults occurred. In Orange, “Hooper 
had an engagement with McCauley, in which he came 
ofif second best, with his eyes blacked." Generally, those 
who agreed with the Federal leaders were successful. Ire¬ 
dell had been brought forward too late to be elected, but, 
heartily in favor of the proposed Constitution, he urged 
its adoption by tongue and pen, and gave to the cause 
the full weight of his influence. Early in November a pub¬ 
lic meeting was held at Edenton and resolutions adopted 
to support the Constitution; and four days later the grand 
jury attending the Superior Court of that district, presented 
to the court an elaborate address prepared by Iredell: “We 
admire in the new Constitution a proper jealousy of liberty, 
mixed with the due regard to the necessity of a strong, au¬ 
thoritative government. Such a one is a requisite for a 
confederative as for a single government, since it would 
not be more ridiculous or futile for our own Assembly to 
depend for any necessary exertion of power on the unan- 




BROAD PATRIOTISM 


79 


imous concurrence of all the states in the Union.” And 
the grand jury urged that the Assembly should call an 
early convention. 

The Assembly 

It was under such influences that the Legislature met at 
Tarboro on November 19. Willie Jones was not a mem¬ 
ber, but Person and Coor were in the Senate. That body 
organized by electing as speaker Alexander Martin, one 
of the delegates who had framed the Constitution. Judge 
John Sitgreaves, also an advocate of its adoption, was chosen 
Speaker of the House. The temper of the Assembly was 
manifested by a broad patriotism and a liberal spirit. 
Governor Caswell was about to retire from the executive 
chair, and doubtless threw his influence toward promot¬ 
ing the closer union which he had advanced in its incip- 
iency by appointing delegates to attend the Annapolis Con¬ 
ference, and which was exactly in line with his own rec¬ 
ommendation to the delegates. 

The disposition to conform to the wishes of the general 
government was made apparent by the first act of the 
Assembly. The Governor communicated the correspond¬ 
ence from the President of the Congress urging that the 
Treaty of Peace should be fully observed. So far North 
Carolina had turned a deaf ear to all entreaties, declining 
to give effect to the provisions of the Treaty that were 
favorable to the Tories. Now, the first act of the session 
declared the Treaty to' be the law of the land, and required 
that the courts of the State should judge all cases accord¬ 
ingly. Thus ended the protracted contests over that exas¬ 
perating question, and the tribulations of the Loyalists and 
their friends drew to a close. Although James Iredell had 
failed of election his party colleagues were in the ascendancy 
and he was appointed one of the State Council, and his repu¬ 
tation as a lawyer was so high that he was directed, as 
sole commissioner, to revise and publish the Acts of Assem- 


Nov. 1787 


S. R., XX, 
301 


Ibid., 752 


Ibid., 129 


Treaty of 
Peace 




8o 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 


McCulloh 

pardoned 


S. R, XX 
370 


1787 


Convention 

called 


S. R., XX, 
372 


The 

capital 


bly, with large discretionary powers. The sympathies of 
the Assembly were aroused in behalf of Richard Bradley, 
a young man who had killed Col. Sam Swann in a duel at 
Wilmington, and it recommended that the Governor should 
pardon him.* And the Governor was also authorized to 
pardon McCulloh and all others convicted of frauds against 
the State. 

On the second day of the session Governor Caswell pre¬ 
sented the draft of the proposed Constitution and a 
letter from Congress submitting it to the State; and Decem¬ 
ber 6 was set apart for its consideration. When that day 
arrived the two houses formed themselves into a committee 
of the whole, with Elisha Battle in the chair, to consider 
the instrument. The business was speedily disposed of. 
At a single sitting resolutions were agreed to recommending 
the people of each county to elect five delegates to a con¬ 
vention to be held to consider the Constitution, and if 
approved by them, to confirm and ratify it on the part of 
the State. In .the Senate, James Coor, seconded by General 
Person, moved an amendment that “in case they do not 
agree that the said proposed Constitution shall become 
binding on the people of the State, then and in that case, 
they report to the executive authority of this State their 
objections, and the necessary alterations that should he made 
in it to secure to the people their most valuable and indis¬ 
pensable rights, liberties and privileges as expressed and 
secured to them by the Bill of Rights and Constitution of 
the State.” This proposition, however, received but eight 
votes, while thirty-five members voted against it. In the 
House there was no division: The Assembly also recom¬ 
mended to the people to authorize the convention to fix 
a place for holding the General Assembly, which shall be 
the unalterable seat of government. 

*The Governor accordingly pardoned Bradley; but the judges held that the 
Executive was not authorized by the Constitution to pardon a culprit before 
conviction, and at the next session, the Legislature itself passed an act 
pardoning him. 





JOHNSTON INAUGURATED 


81 


To open Raleigh Inlet 

The spirit of enterprise for which the Albemarle section 
was famous was illustrated by an application for the incor¬ 
poration of a company composed of many well-known 
citizens to deepen a channel and cut out an inlet to be 
known as the Raleigh Inlet, from Albemarle Sound to the 
sea. The affairs of the western counties received atten¬ 
tion, and it being again proposed to repeal the act annulling 
the Act of Cession and to authorize the delegation in Con¬ 
gress to convey the western territory to the United States, 
the proposition was defeated; and measures were taken to 
quiet the disorders in that region. 

Dr. Hugh Williamson and Robert Burton were chosen 
delegates to the Continental Congress, and their election 
was in line with the general action of the Assembly, favor¬ 
able to the Federal party. Still more strongly did the 
Assembly manifest its Federalism by the election of Samuel 
Johnston as Governor. On being notified, Johnston re¬ 
paired to Tarborough, where he was received with many 
marks of distinction. Davie mentioned “a number of gen¬ 
tlemen were to meet him on his coming to town and Cas¬ 
well must have felt some mortification at this attention to 
Mr. Johnston, as no notice had been taken of him.” On 
December 20, at a joint session of the two houses, Johnston 
took the oaths, but departed from the usual custom and 
delivered no inaugural. 

Glimpses 

In November, 1787, William Atmore, a merchant of Phil¬ 
adelphia, came to New Bern, Tarboro and Washington, 
having business relations with many of the people of that 
section. He kept a journal, in which he entered “Washing¬ 
ton is a town consisting of about sixty families. . . . Vessels 
drawing seven and a half feet of water come up when the 

river is low. . . . About two miles below the town the navi- 

6 


1787 


Johnston 

Governor 


Life of 
Iredell, 
II, 216 


S. R., XX, 
456 





82 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 


Commerce 


Life at 
Tarboro 


gation is impeded by sunken logs and by stumps of large 
trees that are supposed to have grown there/’ A similar 
subsidence also, is said to have occurred above Edenton. 
"The trade up the river as far as Tarborough is carried on 
chiefly in large scows and flats, drawing but little water, 
some of these carry 70 or 80 hogsheads of tobacco. . . . 

At Washington there are several convenient wharves and 
there are sometimes lying here twenty sail of sea vessels. 
There is a courthouse, and prison there, and there is a school 
house. 

“The merchants export from this Town, Tar, Pitch, 
Turpentine, Rosin, Indian Corn, Boards, Scantling, Staves, 
Shingles, Furs, Tobacco, Pork, Lard, Tallow, Beeswax, 
Myrtlewax, Pease, and some other articles. Their Trade is 
chiefly with the West Indies and with other States on this 
Continent; the Navigation not admitting Vessels of great 
burthen to come up to the Town; and for a large Vessel to 
lay below to load at the Anchorage near the Bar is always 
inconvenient, and sometimes dangerous. 

“We found upon our arrival at Tarborough the place 
much crowded; the Legislature being sitting for the dis¬ 
patch of business—The size of the Town appear’d so inade¬ 
quate to the comfortable accommodation of a Legislature 
composed of about 120 Commons or Delegates and about 
60 Senators, together with the people attending the Ses¬ 
sions in business or going there on motives of pleasure, 
that you will not easily believe that it was possible to provide 
for them; Yet provided for they were. And they said 
themselves, very comfortably; One old Countryman said 
that he had cause to be satisfied; that he lives there much 
better than at home.— 

“Captain Toole, a Trader, and for the time Innkeeper 
provided for 40 or 50 Members, with a great number of 
others; every family almost received some of the Members; 
Beds were borrowed from the Country, 3 or 4 placed in 
a room, and two of their Honors in a Bed—: provisions 




LEGISLATURE IN SESSION 


83 


were in plenty. Horses were mostly sent to Farms in the 
vicinity of the Town—Mr. Falkener who formerly resided 
sometime in Philadelphia brought hither his E. O. Table; 
Gambling was carried to great extent at this Table and also 
at other Games; at times several of my acquaintances have 
told me of their losses,—A Trader of Newbern lost in one 
night 600 pounds—Some attempts were made to represent 
some dramatic pieces, but with very bad success—Two of 
the Actresses were Adventuresses from Charleston. 

“The Court House is a large wooden building of two 
Apartments, and standing on brick Pillars; in the long 
Room the Commons met; in the other the Senate—Any 
person is at liberty to go and hear the debates in either 
House, Standing uncover’d without their Bar—The bar at 
the Senate was a Board laid across two old trunks, standing 
on the ends which served very well pro tern. 

"The Bar of the Commons House was the Court House 
Bar—Every Member sat with his Hat on except when ad¬ 
dressing the Chair—The business before the house not 
being very interesting I soon retired—But soon after hear¬ 
ing that the new Governor was to be Sworn into office I 
returned. There was now a joint Meeting of the two 
houses in the large Room, a Committee of 3 or 4 gentlemen 
went to him, they walk’d together to the House. All the 
Members rose on his entering. The usual Oath of Alle¬ 
giance to the State and Oath of Office as Governor being 
by him distinctly repeated and sworn, he retired to his 
lodgings, there being no Ceremony of Proclamation.” 

Being rowed across the river at Blounts ferry by two 
negroes, Atmore asked one: 

“Where was you born, boy?” 

“I was born in Guinea.” 

“Don’t you want to go back to your Country?” 

“I have learnt another Language now, they will kill me 
if I go back to my home—” 

“How came you brought from yr. Country?” 


1787 


The custom 


The 

imported 

African 



8 4 


NEW GOVERNMENT PROPOSED 


1787 

Life at 
Lumberton 


“I went with many more to attack a town, where they were 
too strong for us, they killed a great many, and took 140 
of us prisoners, and sold us.” 

‘‘Had you not better have let them alone and remained in 
peace at home ?” 

“No. My Nation always fight that Nation.” 

“And what would you do if you return’d to your Country 
now, you’d be quiet?” 

“No, I go there, and fight ’em worse than ever.” 

Mr. Atmore visited New Bern where he had friends,, 
and he gives a pleasing account of the society there. And 
there he met the daughter of Judge Sitgreaves, who event¬ 
ually married him. He describes the palace as untenanted, 
but the spacious hall sometimes was used for balls, and in 
the building a school was kept. 

Gen. John Willis had been a soldier in the Revolutionary 
War. He was a lawyer and a civil engineer and also a 
large planter and mill owner. He laid ofif the town of 
Lumberton on some of his land; and established an academy 
there of which David Kerr was the principal before he was 
employed at the University. Somewhat later he proposed 
to sell to W. Norment his lands in the Raft Swamp and 
Drowning Creek, 11,776 acres, with his mills. The trade 
from Lumberton was by flats down the river to Georgetown. 
He was in the Assembly at times and in that of 1787 at 
Tarboro. On December 10, when the session was about a 
month old, he wrote to his wife: “I now have an oppor¬ 
tunity to write to you—a young man going to Fayetteville— 
the first I have had since I arrived here.” After telling 
about calling the Convention of 1788, he adds: “I have the 
future of the dear children around you continually in my 
views. I will bring when I come about 20 pounds worth 
of excellent books, just such as I know you will be fond 
of.” He became a member of the Convention. 



CHAPTER VI 


Convention of 1788 

The influence of Virginia.—Ratification doubtful.—Jefferson’s 
attitude.—The people divided in every state.—Virginia ratifies in 
June.—Opposition in New York weakens.—The Convention meets 
at Hillsboro in July.—Willie Jones influenced by action of Vir¬ 
ginia—Governor Johnston presides.—The Anti-Federals in con¬ 
trol.—The Constitution considered by paragraphs.—The Conven¬ 
tion fails to ratify and proposes amendments.—The seat of govern¬ 
ment located in Wake County. 

The Convention was to meet at Hillsboro in July, July, 1788 
and in March the election of delegates took place. Pre¬ 
liminary to it great interest was manifested. Iredell pub¬ 
lished in the State Gazette at New Bern a masterly dis¬ 
sertation on the proposed Constitution that attracted wide Lifeof 
attention. But the Virginia influence was strong. In that {g e 6 de11, IIf 
state Mason had published a caustic criticism of the instru¬ 
ment, and although Jefferson was in France he maintained 
an active correspondence with friends, to whom he ex¬ 
pressed grave apprehensions. Even before the close of Jan¬ 
uary Davie wrote: “The great deference this State has 
been accustomed to pay to the political opinions of the Old 
Dominion will, I believe, have a very bad effect on the de¬ 
termination of this great question. This circumstance, 
added to the opposition already formed, in my opinion, ren¬ 
ders its adoption in this State extremely doubtful.” In May 

a j j 217 

he and Moore and Iredell prepared a pamphlet, published 
by contributions for general-circulation. But the cause was 
hopeless. Willie Jones had from the first been opposed to 
the Constitution, and he at once became the head of a party 
having its defeat for their object. The men in office were 
generally unfavorable to any change, and a cry was raised 
that the poor would be ruined by taxes and that there was 
no security for freedom of conscience. The paper at New 
Bern, published by Xavier Martin, was strongly Anti- 


86 


CONVENTION OF 1788 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 

223 


Ibid., 329 


Federal, and although most of the leaders of thought were 
favorable to accepting the Constitution, those who had the 
ear of the masses were in opposition. At the election, 
Allen Jones, Blount, Hooper, Alfred Moore, Alexander 
Martin and Judge Williams, all Federals, were defeated. 

Jefferson’s views 

About the middle of December Jefferson had written from 
Paris: “Our new Constitution is powerfully attacked in the 
American newspapers. The objections are that its effect 
would be to form the thirteen states into one; that, pro¬ 
posing to melt all down into one general government, they 
have fenced the people by no declaration of rights ; they have 
not renounced the power of keeping a standing army; they 
have not secured the liberty of the press; they have reserved 
the power of abolishing trials by jury in civil cases; they 
have proposed that the laws of the Federal legislature shall 
be paramount to the laws and constitutions of the states; 
they have abandoned rotation in office, and particularly, 
their president may be reelected from four years to four 
years, for life, so as to render him a king for life.” Later, 
while pointing out what pleased him in the Constitution, he 
again referred with disapprobation to an omission of a bill 
of rights, providing “for freedom of religion, freedom of 
the press, protection against standing armies, restrictions 
of monopolies, the eternal and unremitting force of the 
habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury.” Finally he wrote: 
“I wish with all my soul that the first nine conventions may 
accept the new Constitution, because this will insure to us 
the good it contains, which I - think great and important. 
But I equally wish that the four latest conventions, which¬ 
ever they may be, may refuse to accede to it till a bill of 
rights be annexed.” 




VIRGINIA RATIFIES 


The opposition 

The question of ratifying the Constitution indeed divided 
the people into two hostile camps from Massachusetts to 
Georgia. The proposition was bitterly antagonized. The 
opponents were inflamed by every art that could appeal to 
popular prejudice as well as to sound judgment. Every¬ 
where there was passionate remonstrance against putting in 
peril the liberties of the people—met, however, by the advo¬ 
cates of the measure with an equally forcible presentation 
of the necessity of securing the benefits of the Union and of 
stable government. The future of America hung trem¬ 
blingly in the balance. At first the result was doubtful. 

In Pennsylvania there was hot opposition, but in Decem¬ 
ber Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey ratified; and 
Georgia and Connecticut in January. The convention of 
Massachusetts, after a long and severe struggle, in Feb¬ 
ruary ratified by a vote of 187 to 168, proposing a great 
number of amendments. By May, Maryland and South 
Carolina had also adopted the Constitution, proposing 
amendments. Only eight states had ratified; and the result 
was expected to be adverse in the remaining states. 

The Virginia ratification 

Such was the situation when on June 2 the Virginia Con¬ 
vention met. There was bitter opposition; the majority was 
adverse, and the result was altogether uncertain. The great 
leaders were divided. At length, after a discussion ex¬ 
tending over three weeks, the influence of Washington pre¬ 
vailed, and it was on June 26 agreed by a vote of 89 to 79 
to ratify; and the form of ratification adopted was: “We 
the delegates of the people of Virginia . . . do in the 

name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and 
make known, that the powers granted under the Consti¬ 
tution, being derived from the people of the United States, 
may be resumed by them whenever the same shall be per- 


87 


1788 



88 


CONVENTION OF 1788 


verted to their injury or oppression.” A bill of rights 
was proposed and twenty-one amendments. 

Likewise New Hampshire ratified on June 21. In July, 
the New York Convention met. As elected, the majority 
against the Constitution was overwhelming; but when New 
Hampshire and Virginia ratified, the opposition weakened. 
It was, however, proposed that a new convention of all the 
states should be held; and finally, on the strength of pledges 
that there would be amendments, the instrument was on 
July 26, agreed to by a majority of three votes; a large 
number of amendments being submitted: and New York, 
in her ratification declared her right to withdraw. 

The Convention 

On July 21 the North Carolina Convention met in Old 
St. Matthews Church at Hillsboro, which had by act 
of 1784 been converted into a free church. The full mem¬ 
bership was 280, of whom 268 were in attendance. There 
were two chief factions: those who favored ratification re¬ 
gardless of amendments, and those who proposed that there 
should be amendments before North Carolina would ratify. 
Of the latter Willie Jones was the leader. Originally he 
had opposed the adoption of the Constitution, and was 
“perfectly Anti-Federal”; but on the ratification by Vir¬ 
ginia, realizing that the new government would be ordained, 
he abandoned his earlier position and sought to secure 
amendments before North Carolina should yield her assent. 
Many of the Federal leaders had been defeated, but among 
the members were Johnston, Iredell, Maclaine, Davie, 
Spaight, Blount, Grove, Cabarrus, Steele, Hill, Sitgreaves, 
Owen and other Federals of the first water. Davie and 
Spaight had a hand in preparing the Constitution; and Ire¬ 
dell and Maclaine had been its sponsors in North Carolina. 
In the opposition were Elisha Battle, Willie Jones, Spencer, 
Person, David Caldwell, James Galloway, Clinton, Mont- 
fort, Lenoir, Mebane, Kenan, Egbert Haywood, William 





DEBATING THE CONSTITUTION 


89 


Shepperd, Benjamin Williams, Hargett, Joel Lane, Hinton, 
Rutherford, Josiah Collins, Bloodworth, Devane, Branch, 

Dickson, General McDowell, John Macon, Locke, Tipton 
from beyond the mountains, and other men of consequence. 

It soon developed that the Federals were in a woeful 
minority; but Governor Johnston was unanimously chosen 
President, a compliment no less due to his eminence than 
to his official character as Governor of the State. On the 
third day, Galloway, seconded by Macon, moved that the 
Constitution and other papers be. read, and that the Consti¬ 
tution be discussed clause by clause. Willie Jones, seconded 
by General Person, moved that the question on the Consti¬ 
tution be immediately put. He said that the Constitution 
had been so long the subject of deliberation that he believed 
every member was prepared to give his vote at once. To 
this Iredell replied, if that was to be the procedure, the 
voters at the polls might as well have determined the matter; 
that the Constitution had been submitted to the Convention 
for debate and deliberation. Galloway then proposed to go 
into committee of the whole. To this Person objected, but 
the Convention took that course, and by a majority deter¬ 
mined to discuss the Constitution, clause by clause. Evi¬ 
dently Willie Jones and General Person did not control the 
body. The discussions continued a week, Elisha Battle pre¬ 
siding as chairman of the committee of the whole. As it 
seemed from the first that the Constitution would not be Life of 

Iredell, II, 8 

ratified, Iredell and Davie, hoping that the publication of the 
debates might have some effect in procuring its ratification 
on a subsequent occasion, employed a stenographer to take 
them down and, at some pecuniary loss, published them. 

The opposition was alike from the west and the east. The 
Federals argued that the instrument had to be adopted in its 
entirety or rejected: that the rejection of one clause carried 
the whole Constitution. The debates were full, warm, and 
often acrimonious. While the Federal leaders spoke much, 

Jones and Person did not enter into the discussion. Judge 



90 


CONVENTION OF 1788 


Life of 
Iredell, 
15 


Spencer, a graduate of Princeton, Dr. Caldwell, the head 
of the famous academy, Timothy Bloodworth, James Gallo¬ 
way, Joseph McDowell, Matthew Locke and Joseph Taylor 
were the chief debaters against the instrument. At the 
outset, Dr. Caldwell, as a basis to test the principles of the 
Constitution, submitted some political maxims, the first of 
which was that government is a compact between the rulers 
and the people; but the Convention refused to adopt them, 
although strongly urged by Person and Rutherford. And 
as the Convention refused to follow Jones in his proposition 
of no discussion and Dr. Caldwell in laying down funda¬ 
mental principles, apparently the members were retaining 
their independence, and there was a gleam of hope that 
a majority might be won for ratification. Accordingly the 
Federal leaders entered on the discussion, intent on persua¬ 
sion, and determined, if possible, to answer every reasonable 
objection. They all participated in the debates, which, 
though sometimes heated, were generally in good temper, 
and the presentation of the various provisions of the Con¬ 
stitution by Davie, Iredell, Maclaine, Johnston, and their 
associates excites admiration for its fairness, accuracy and 
comprehensiveness. On the other hand the objections to 
the instrument, the necessity of amendments to fully secure 
the rights of the people and of the states, were forcibly 
presented. 

Dr. Caldwell animadverted with severity on the expres¬ 
sion, “We, the people.’’ “Were not they who framed this 
Constitution the representatives of the legislatures of the 
different states? In my opinion, they had no power from 
the people at large to use their name or to act for them. 
They were not delegated for that purpose.’’ 

This allegation that the delegates had exceeded their 
powers led to an exhaustive speech from General Davie, one 
of the delegates involved: “Were not the state legislatures 
afterwards to review our proceedings? Is it not through 
their recommendations that the plan of the Convention is 



ARGUMENT ON ADOPTION 


9 i 


submitted to the people? . . . The Confederation de¬ 

rived its sole support from the state legislatures. This 
rendered it weak and ineffectual. It was therefore neces¬ 
sary that the foundations of this government should be laid 
on the broad basis of the people. . . . The House of 

Representatives are immediately elected by the people. 
The Senators represent the sovereignties of the State.” 
Davie’s exposition was candid, thorough, and highly credit¬ 
able to him as a statesman. Joseph Taylor, however, re¬ 
plied : “This is a consolidation of all the states. Had it 
said ‘We, the states,’ there would have been a federal inten¬ 
tion in it. But, Sir, it is clear that a consolidation is in¬ 
tended.” On the other hand Maclaine insisted: “It is no 
more than a blank till it be adopted by the people. When 
that is done here, is it not the people of the State of North 
Carolina that do it, joined with the people of the other 
states who have adopted it?” 

When the clause permitting the importation of slaves un¬ 
til 1808 was reached there were strong expressions in favor 
of putting an end to the traffic; but as to manumission, 
Galloway declared: “It is impossible for us to be happy, if, 
after manumission, they are to stay among us.” 

In the course of argument Iredell said: “There was a 
great debate in the Convention whether the Senate should 
have an equal power of originating money bills. . . . 

I have reason to believe that our representatives had a great 
share in establishing this excellent regulation (the exclu¬ 
sive right in the House of Representatives), and in my 
opinion they deserve the public’s thanks for it.” Arguing 
for adoption, Iredell continued: “That power which created 
the government can destroy it. . . Massachusetts, 
South Carolina, New Hampshire and Virginia have all 
proposed amendments; but they all concurred in the neces¬ 
sity of immediate adoption.” 

Judge Spencer argued that there should be a bill of 
rights, something to confine the power of government within 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
16 


Ibid., 101 


Ibid., 120 


Ibid., 130 



9 2 


CONVENTION OF 1788 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
169 


Ibid., 169 


its proper bounds. It would keep the states, he urged, 
from being swallowed up by a consolidated government. 
He objected strongly to the jurisdiction of the Federal 
courts. He thought those courts would prove oppresssive, 
and he urged that there would undoubtedly be clashing be¬ 
tween them and the state courts. He expressed the view 
that the business and the remaining power of the state 
courts would gradually be abolished. 

Mr. Locke said that if the state judiciary might be par¬ 
tial so would the Federal judges. He deemed it deroga¬ 
tory to the honor of the State to give this jurisdiction to 
the Federal judges. “I greatly fear,” he exclaimed, “for 
this State and for other states.” But Governor Johnston, 
Iredell, Maclaine, Davie and others combated these views, 
the discussion taking a wide range. 

The opponents of the Constitution, admitting that the 
new government acted on the individual and not the state, 
urged the absolute necessity of a bill of rights to guard 
and protect the liberties of the citizens, which were in dan¬ 
ger because there was no sufficient limitation on the powers 
of government. 

On the other hand, said Maclaine, “the powers of Con¬ 
gress are limited and enumerated. . . . We retain all 

those rights we have not given away to the general gov¬ 
ernment.” 

The subject of preserving the rights and powers of the 
states was discussed at great length; and while the doctrine 
was broadly maintained that the Federal Constitution, when 
adopted, would become a part of the State Constitution, it 
was declared that the latter must yield to the former only 
in those particular cases where power is given. The State 
Constitution, they said, is not to yield in any other case 
whatsoever. The laws of the United States would be 
supreme, but only in cases consistent with the powers spe¬ 
cially granted. Maclaine, perhaps the most violent Feder¬ 
alist in the body, said: “This proposal is made to the peo- 


Ibid., 180 



STATUS OF STATES DISCUSSED 


93 


pie. No man will deny their authority to delegate powers, £ 

and recall them, in all free countries.” To this there was 
no dissent. 

The necessity of some amendments was freely admitted, 
opinion being divided as to the scope of the necessary 
amendments, and as to whether there should be ratification 
prior to the adoption of the amendments. 

At length, after a patient discussion of every clause of the 
Constitution, Governor Johnston proposed that the conven¬ 
tion should ratify the instrument, and at the same time pro¬ 
pose amendments. Somewhat later, Willie Jones said that 
he was opposed to that step; he proposed that there should 
be certain amendments before North Carolina should ratify. 

On the following day, for the first time, he explained his 
views: “It is objected that we will be out of the Union. 

So I wish to be. We are left at liberty to come in at any Life of 
time. It is said we shall suffer a great loss for want of a 225 
share of the imposts. I have no doubt we shall share it 
when we come in, as much as if we adopt it now. I have 
a resolution in my pocket, which I intend to introduce if 
this resolution is carried, recommending it to the Legislature 
to lay an impost, for the use of Congress, on goods im¬ 
ported into this State similar to that which may be laid bv 
Congress on goods imported into the adopting states. This 
shows the committee what is my intention, and on what foot¬ 
ing we are to be. This being the case I will forfeit my life 
we shall come in for a share. It is said that all the offices of 
Congress will be filled, and we shall have no share in appoint¬ 
ing the officers. This is an objection of very little impor¬ 
tance. Gentlemen need not be in such haste. If left eighteen 
months or two years without offices, it is no great cause of 
alarm. The gentleman further said that we could send no 
representatives, but must send ambassadors to Congress, as 
a foreign power. I assert the contrary; and that whenever a 
convention of the states is called, North Carolina will be 
called on like the rest. ... I have in my proposition adopted 



94 


CONVENTION OF 1788 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
224 


Ibid., 250 


word for word the Virginia amendments, with one or two 
additional ones. . . . There is no doubt we shall obtain 

our amendments and come into the Union when we please.” 
He mentioned Mr. Jefferson’s wish that nine states should 
ratify and four reject the Constitution. “Amendments 
might be by conventions or by the legislatures. In either 
case, it may take up about eighteen months. For my part 
I had rather be eighteen years out of the Union than adopt 
it in its present defective form.” His proposition and re¬ 
marks led to a very hot debate. Davie declared that it 
would be arrogantly saying to the other states: “I wish to 
be in copartnership with you, but the terms must be as I 
please.” Finally, after a long day of animated discussion, 
Jones’s resolution was agreed to by a great majority and 
was reported to the Convention. It provided that a bill of 
rights and twenty-six amendments should be laid before 
Congress for consideration previous to the ratification of the 
Constitution on the part of North Carolina. xA.t that time 
the action of New York was unknown; and indeed it was 
thought that that state would not adopt the Constitution ; but 
Virginia’s action influenced the Anti-Federals at the North 
as well as in North Carolina. With great difficulty, Iredell 
on Saturday, August 2, obtained a vote on his proposition to 
ratify at once, while recommending five amendments. This 
motion received 84 votes, while there were 184 in the nega¬ 
tive. And then the report of the committee of the whole, 
being the resolution offered by Willie Jones, was agreed to 
by the reverse vote, 184 to 84. Willie Jones then offered his 
other proposition, which was agreed to; that as the Conven¬ 
tion had thought proper neither to ratify nor reject the Con¬ 
stitution, it was recommended to the Legislature to pass a 
law for collecting an impost for the use of Congress similar 
to any that Congress should pass. 




LOCATING THE STATE GOVERNMENT 


95 


The Convention then passed an ordinance directing the 
General Assembly to provide for the selection of a site for 
the State capital within ten miles of the plantation of Isaac 
Hunter in the county of Wake—that being as near as pos¬ 
sible the geographical center of the State and on the great 
highways leading to every section. After being in session 
eleven days on Monday, August 4, the body adjourned. 



CHAPTER VII 


The Separate State 

The people divided.—The Federals strong.—Congress provides 
for election of President, etc—Indian war feared.—The proposed 
capital.—The two houses at points.-—Another convention agreed 
on—Delegates appointed to New York’s proposed Federal Conven¬ 
tion.—Johnston again Governor.—Jones’s progressive action.—The 
County of Tennessee.—The District of Mero formed.—Andrew 
Jackson.—Iredell honored.—New enterprises.—South Carolina 
negroes.—The Confederacy ends on March 4.—The interregnum. 
—April 30 Washington President.—The bust of John Paul 
Jones.—The State continues as a sovereign State.—Its prosperity. 
—Wilmington’s commerce.—North Carolina pays her debt to the 
Confederacy.—The Indians pacified—Federal legislation.—The 
election for Assemblymen and for delegates.—The House elects 
Caswell speaker.—The Convention elects Johnston to preside.— 
The Assembly takes recess.—The Convention ratifies the Consti¬ 
tution.—Davie in the Assembly.—Federal elections provided for.— 
The western territory ceded.—At Davie’s instance the University 
established.—Fayetteville again prevents locating the capital.— 
The death of Caswell—of Hooper—of Maclaine—of Penn.—The 
Great Experiment. 


The new 
Union 


Nine other states having ratified the Constitution of the 
United States by June, 1788, the Constitution by its terms 
took effect between them. The Confederation that had 
been agreed to be perpetual was thus supplanted by a new 
Union in which North Carolina had no part. The Conti¬ 
nental Congress, however, continued its session, making 
provision for the establishment of the new government. In 
the State the result of the Convention had been so strongly 
foreshadowed by the returns of the election of members 
that while it did not conform to the wishes of the Federal 
leaders it did not disappoint their expectations. Soon after 
adjournment it became known that New York, while calling 
for a new convention, had followed the example of Virginia, 
so that besides North Carolina the only state that did not 
ratify was Rhode Island, and she was held in such low es¬ 
teem that her nonaction gave no concern. Generally 
throughout the Union while the Anti-Federal party had 



BITTER FEELINGS 


97 


shown great strength, it had failed of success. The only 
respectable state not acceding to the Union, there was rea¬ 
son to hope North Carolina would not long remain sepa¬ 
rated from her sisters. But the opposition had been carried 
to a great height and, as the issue involved government 
affecting the happiness, prosperity and liberties of the peo¬ 
ple, the defeated partisans, numbering nearly one-half of the 
inhabitants, were sore, sullen and dissatisfied. In their 
view, the obstinacy of their opponents was very reprehen¬ 
sible and harsh epithets were hurled at Willie Jones and 
his coadjutors and much bitterness was evolved. 

The election 

As the August election for assemblymen approached it 
was evident that events had weakened the influence of the 
Anti-Federalists. The potent argument against isolation was 
perhaps strengthened by the hope that some of the public 
characters entertained of sharing in the offices of the new 
government. Thus at the election the policy of rejecting 
was not generally approved and the Anti-Federals sustained 
a reverse. Especially at the west was the change of sen¬ 
timent noted. Surry elected three Federals; and in Rowan 
both Rutherford and Locke, theretofore invincible popular 
idols, were beaten. Still the general result was unknown 
and Willie Jones, whose following was so large in the Con¬ 
vention, expected to control the Assembly. He, himself, at 
variance with his habits of life, had stood for the Senate and 
was returned a member of that body, while General Person 
was again elected to the House. They had cooperated in 
their purposes, first to reject and then to await amendments; 
and now assuming that they still controlled, they announced 
their plan to remain out of the Union for a period of five 
or six years. Halifax was one of the seats of intelligence 
whence radiated the influence that swayed the actions of the 
interior communities; and although his brother Allen, his 
brother-in-law, Colonel Ashe, and all of his friends who 
7 


August, 

1788 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
239 




98 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


habitually gathered around his fireside were now in favor 
of immediate adoption, Colonel Jones adhered with persist¬ 
ence to his plan, and was constantly addressing the people 
and pointing out the disastrous consequences that would 
possibly attend the supremacy of the Federal judiciary. 
But as the sentiment in Virginia had at the outset strength¬ 
ened Anti-Federalism in Carolina, now her action in rati¬ 
fying placed the State in a predicament that constrained her 
to accept the Constitution and the new Union as the less 
of two evils. Thus the prospect was hopeful for ratifica¬ 
tion ; and the Federal leaders, taking heart, entered with 
enthusiasm upon a new agitation. Iredell published an ad¬ 
dress to the voters, and Johnston, Davie, Steele and others 
distributed petitions for the people in the several counties 
to sign, praying for a new convention. All was activity 
in the Federal camp. Indeed, leading men in the other 
southern states, realizing the importance to southern inter¬ 
ests of North Carolina’s aid in Congress, urged the Feder¬ 
alists to renew action. 

Providing for the new government 

In the meanwhile Congress, early in September, in order 
to inaugurate the new government, provided for the election 
of members of Congress and presidential electors. These 
latter were to be appointed in January and were to choose 
a President in February. The Senators and Representatives 
were to assemble in New York on March 4, and on that day, 
Sept. 1788 when the Congress should be organized, the President was 
to be inaugurated. This act was officially communicated 
to Governor Johnston in September; and otherwise it seemed 
to be considered that the delay in North Carolina’s accession 
was merely temporary. But the fall passed in uncertainty, 
all depending on the temper of the Assembly, which could 
not be ascertained with accuracy. 



FEARS OF INDIAN WAR 


99 


The Assembly 

The Assembly was to meet at Fayetteville on the first 
of November, and as the members came in it was found that 
other matters than the Union were engaging their attention. 
For a time western affairs and the probability of an Indian 
war were uppermost in their minds; for there was reason 
to apprehend that a general confederacy had been formed by 
all the tribes, those at the North being supplied with arms 
and ammunition by the British. The situation was alarm¬ 
ing, and as the inhabitants on the Cumberland feared that 
North Carolina alone could not adequately protect them, 
the members representing those counties now desired to be 
under the protection of the Union. 

Another subject of absorbing interest to many members 
was the ordinance of the convention fixing the seat of gov¬ 
ernment in Wake County. All the influence of the Cape 
Fear region was actively arrayed in opposition, and the ad¬ 
vantage of selecting as the capital Fayetteville, a thriving 
town at the head of navigation with highways affording 
transportation facilities to the western counties, was pressed 
with vigor. But the Albemarle members were opposed to 
Fayetteville. 

However, overshadowing these local subjects the great 
matter was that the State was separated from the Union. 
In the first days of the session the Federals were sanguine 
in their expectations of a new convention. Martin and Sit- 
greaves, both Federalists, were reelected speakers, but their 
personal popularity was also a factor and their success was 
not a sure test of the main matter. In his message, Gov¬ 
ernor Johnston urged: “The first object which calls for 
your serious attention is the situation into which the State 
will be cast on the meeting of the Congress of the United 
States”; and petitions were presented from nineteen coun¬ 
ties, among them Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Randolph 
and Surry, and even Halifax, praying for a new convention. 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
245 


Out of 
the Union 


S. R„ XXI r 
10 


Ibid., 21 



IOO 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
246 


S. R., XX, 
924 


S. R., XXI, 
33 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
245 


S. R„ XXI, 
52 


S. R., XX, 
514 


But the matter was in doubt. At length, after most of the 
members had arrived, on the night of the eighth day of 
the session, a secret meeting was held, and it was ascer¬ 
tained that the Federals had a small majority of the mem¬ 
bers. The Senate was Federal, but the Anti-Federals had 
a majority in the House. It would seem that Willie Jones 
early realized the futility of opposing the popular current 
which was now setting in favor of the Union. On Monday, 
the ioth of November, he moved that the Senate should pro¬ 
pose a conference of the two houses, a joint meeting, to hear 
the petitions read, and to deliberate on them and to determine 
on the propriety of convening a new convention. The 
Senate assented and sent the message, but the House did not 
accept the invitation. 

The strongest argument for action was based on the iso¬ 
lated situation the State would be in were she to remain out 
of the Union; but there came a report that, under the in¬ 
fluence of Patrick Henry, the Assembly of Virginia would 
refuse to participate in the organization of the new gov¬ 
ernment, thus virtually reversing the action of that state. 
Besides, New York had proposed another convention of the 
states, and there was a hope that such a body might convene. 
It was, perhaps, because of the reported reactionary move¬ 
ment in Virginia and the expectation of a new Federal con¬ 
vention that the House declined to join in the proposed con¬ 
ference, and that General Person secured on the 15th a 
vote in the House of 55 to 47 for his resolution declaring 
that: “It is now not expedient to call a new convention.” 
This declaration, however, did not deter Caswell and the 
other Federal leaders from pressing forward. The logic 
of the situation was irresistible, and the strength of the 
Federals was sufficient to bear down the opposition. Two 
days after the House had spoken Caswell offered in the 
Senate a resolution that “another convention should be 
called for the purpose of reconsidering the new Constitu¬ 
tion,” and it passed by the decisive vote of 30 to 15. 




NEW CONVENTION ORDERED 


101 


Jones’s attitude 

Willie Jones voted in the negative; but immediately on the 
adoption of the resolution, either in deference to the popular 
will, or perhaps because of his position as chairman of the 
Committee on Public Business, he introduced a formal 
joint resolution providing for a new convention to deliber¬ 
ate and determine on the said Constitution, and amendments, 
if any. He proposed that each county should be represented 
by three members, and that the election should be held in 
August and the convention meet in October. Thus he 
would secure a year for developments and deliberation; but 
Caswell was not content with the proposed delay and sought 
to make haste by holding the election on December 15, al¬ 
lowing less than a month for the canvass. While the sen¬ 
timent in the Senate was overwhelming for Union, this 
haste was not approved, and perhaps in view of Colonel 
Jones’s attitude and to conciliate his followers, Caswell’s 
proposition was voted down and Jones’s resolution was 
passed without amendment. The concession was apparently 
effective, for although but two days had elapsed since the 
House had declared against a convention, on receiving 
this resolution, that body informed the Senate that if the 
representation should be increased to five members from 
each county, and if the convention should meet on the 
third Monday of November it would concur in the adoption 
of the resolution. The Senate thereupon made the proposed 
amendments, and the House concurred; and the Federals re¬ 
joiced at this accomplishment of their purposes. The diver¬ 
gence between Jones and General Person was further empha¬ 
sized, when a few days later, the latter, manifesting his dis¬ 
satisfaction, moved to reconsider the resolution to call the 
convention; but the House was no longer under his control, 
and his motion failed, only 32 voting with him while 50 sus¬ 
tained the previous action of the Assembly. The struggle 
was over and Federalism was triumphant. There was, how- 


s. r., xx, 

515 


Ibid., 516 


S. R., XXI, 
67 


Ibidi., 130 




102 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


S. R., XXI, 
68 


S. R., XX, 
544 


Jones’s 

measures 


S. R., XX, 
505. 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
276 


ever, an expectation that the call made by New York for an¬ 
other Federal convention might materialize, and to be ready 
for the contingency, should such a body convene, the Assem¬ 
bly elected delegates to represent the State in it. Governor 
Johnston and other Federals, while not in sympathy with 
that movement and declining to be candidates for the honor 
of representing the State, made no opposition, and Person, 
McDowell, Locke, Bloodworth and Lenoir were chosen. 
Delegates from New York, Pennsylvania and, perhaps, other 
states did subsequently meet, but as the movement was with¬ 
out the countenance of the Continental Congress, it had no 
result. 

Other business 

d he Assembly, being now in thorough accord with the 
Federal leaders, no longer delayed the election of a gov¬ 
ernor for the ensuing year, and the honor was again awarded 
to Governor Johnston. Willie Jones was chairman of the 
committee to prepare bills of a public nature, and as such he 
presented many bills of importance. Perhaps not all of 
these measures originated with himself, but his advocacy of 
some of them gives assurance that he was a statesman of 
breadth of view, and superior to the environments of the 
day, and possessed of sound judgment and correct appre¬ 
hension. North Carolina’s trade was largelv carried on 
through the ports of the adjoining states and it was consid¬ 
ered that her commerce was hampered because her paper 
currency had fallen in value, the depreciation being about 
30 per cent. As a corrective, Jones offered a measure 
providing that debts should be recovered according to the 
contract. Although this bill failed a beneficial result was 
reached by the revenue act, which contained a direction to 
collect a tax for the sinking fund, so large an amount of 
currency being thereby withdrawn from the public that 
within a year State paper, becoming scarce, was on a par 
with specie. 



COUNTY REPRESENTATION 


103 


Colonel Jones, although one of the largest slaveholders in 
the State, perhaps partaking the views of Jefferson, pre¬ 
sented a bill forbidding the importation of slaves, but this 
measure was in advance of the times and it then failed. 
Another proposition made by him was apparently more in 
harmony with the views of those who had been reckoned 
as conservatives than with the principles of ultra democracy 
commonly attributed to him. He offered a resolution to the 
effect that “representation under the Constitution was op¬ 
pressive and burdensome, and that representation ought to 
be distributed in proportion to the share which the counties 
contribute to the public fund.” The vote on this resolution 
was a tie in the Senate, and it devolving on Speaker Martin 
to give the casting vote, he defeated it. But the subject 
was not disposed of; and the Senate passed a resolution 
submitting it to the Convention to “take into consideration 
the provisions of the State Constitution fixing representa¬ 
tion in the Senate and the House, and to alter them so that 
the Legislature may be less expensive and its measures the 
more stable and uniform.” This was the first manifestation 
of dissatisfaction with the working of the Constitution 
which gave to each county, despite inequalities in property 
and in population, an equal vote in the Assembly; and al¬ 
though later that subject entered largely into the politics 
of the State it was long before any change was effected. 

The western country 

On the Cumberland, the Indians were hostile and despite 
the active efforts of Gen. Joseph Martin, who was in com¬ 
mand, the' settlers were much harassed; and they were also 
greatly concerned by the denial by Spain of their right to 
navigate the Mississippi River. They desired to raise a 
volunteer force of fifteen thousand men to crush the In¬ 
dians and wished to be under the protection of the Union 
and of the Federal forces. 


s. r., xx, 

492 


Ibid., 566 


Constitu¬ 
tional reform 


S. R., XX, 
567 



104 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


S. R., XX, 
513 


Tennessee 


S. R., XXI, 
637 


Andrew 

Jackson 


Iredell 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
266 


The eastern members were not willing to precipitate an 
Indian war and the situation was embarrassing. As a solu¬ 
tion of the difficulties, notwithstanding North Carolina had 
not then become a member of the new Union, Willie Jones, 
doubtless regarding the delay as merely temporary, brought 
forward a bill to cede the western territory to the United 
States; but the Assembly was not ready for that step, and 
the proposition went over to the next session. Instead, 
the county of Davidson was again divided, the new county 
being named Tennessee, the first application of that name 
to any territorial division; and the three counties on the 
Cumberland were formed into a district, called Mero, in 
honor of the Spanish governor at Mobile, whose kindliness 
had won for him the regard of the western inhabitants. 
For this district military officers were at once appointed, 
and also a judge; but in the act establishing the courts no 
provision was made for a state’s attorney. Thus the judge, 
John McNary, found it necessary to appoint a state’s at¬ 
torney for the Superior Court of Davidson, November 
term, 1788, and for the district of Mero the next year. 
He appointed Andrew Jackson, a young man who was born 
in the present county of Union, and who had been admitted 
to the practice of law in Surry County in 1787, although 
barely of age. 

To carry into effect the ordinance of the Convention fixing 
the seat of government in Wake County, Jones introduced 
a bill appointing commissioners for that purpose; but the 
influence of Fayetteville, perhaps with the aid of the ex¬ 
treme western members, was too powerful to be overcome, 
and the measure failed. Other bills proposed by Jones 
likewise were rejected. On the other hand, Iredell, the most 
active advocate of the Federal Constitution, was honored by 
being elected a Councilor of State. Wills and Hodges, 
who were allied with the Federal party, were made State 
printers, and were directed to print the Acts of Assembly for 
distribution; and Iredell was appointed a commissioner to 




STIMULATING COMMERCE 


105 


revise all the laws of the State. Moreover, Rowan County 
was divided, and the new county set off was named Iredell 
in compliment to him. While these high honors were being 
heaped on Iredell, the implacable Maclaine was rejoicing 
that “Jones was unable to secure the passage of a single 
bill.” Still Jones exerted positive influence, and Maclaine, 
fearing his return to the Assembly of 1789, wrote in Sep¬ 
tember: “I am persuaded we might have carried our 
point last year, but for Willie Jones; and therefore I am 
anxious to know whether he is a member.” However, long 
before the session ended Jones obtained leave of absence and 
did not return. He soon removed from Halifax, settling 
in Wake at the new seat of government, but he was never 
again in the public service. 

Progressive measures 

Former Assemblies had sought to promote manufacturing 
enterprises by offering bounties, and now an effort was 
made to stimulate the erection of iron works by the offer 
of three thousand acres of land for every furnace that 
should be established. And in the interest of commerce 
another effort was made to secure a navigable passage into 
the ocean near Roanoke Inlet, and Governor Johnston, 
Nathaniel Allen and others were appointed commissioners 
to receive subscriptions “for cutting Raleigh Canal.” Nor 
was inventive genius lacking. Thomas Bloodworth, a 
brother of the politician, applied to the Assembly for a 
patent for the building of mills on the principle of the 
oblique wheel, doubtless now known as the turbine wheel. 

The negroes of the Loyalists 

In 1781 General Sumter had offered a negro taken from 
the South Carolina Tories to each private soldier who should 
enlist in his command. A considerable number of Caro¬ 
linians enlisted and shared the fortunes of the “Swamp 
Fox,” and they received as compensation negroes that had 


Raleigh 

Canal 



io6 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


S. R., XXIV, 
954 


March, 1789 


S. R., XXI, 
533 


belonged to South Carolina Loyalists. Suits were now 
threatened for the recovery of these slaves by their former 
masters. The Assembly therefore directed that in every 
such case a verdict and judgment should be given to the 
defendants. 

The claims of the State against the Confederacy were 
still unsettled and amounted to 14,000,000 pounds, Con¬ 
tinental currency, and 2,376,000 pounds specie. To liqui¬ 
date such claims Congress provided a commission, and 
Dr. Williamson, in addition to his duties as a delegate to 
the Continental Congress, which he continued to attend to 
its last day, was appointed the agent of the State to appear 
before this commission and settle these claims. Although 
Williamson remained in attendance and although Congress 
could legislate on some subjects, yet during the entire winter 
seven states were not represented at the same time, so 
that he could not bring to the attention of the body the in¬ 
structions given by the previous Assembly. 

The New Union 

As the Congress of the United States was to begin on 
March 4, to mark the end of the old and the beginning of 
the new government, salutes were fired in New York City 
at noon of that day and the bells of all the churches rang 
out peals of joy. The members of the old Congress dis¬ 
persed ; those not elected to the new Congress going home. 
Thus the Confederacy ended; and North Carolina no longer 
was in the Union of the states. 

The gathering of the new officers at New York was slow. 
On the 4th of March only eight Senators and fourteen Rep¬ 
resentatives met at the public building. Indeed a month 
passed before the Senate could organize, the interval being 
known as the interregnum. It was not until April 6 that 
the Senate organized and the electoral votes were counted. 
Being informed of his election. General Washington left 
Mount Vernon on April 16, and on the last day of the 



AN INDEPENDENT STATE 


107 


month was inaugurated and the new government was in 
force. Robert Burton, also one of the delegates, did not 
remain in New York to the end of the Confederacy, but his 
patriotism and elevated sentiments are alike manifested in a 
letter to Governor Johnston: “As those men who have 
fought for us in the great contest cannot be held in too 
high esteem, and as Chevalier John Paul Jones is among 
the foremost who derived their appointment from this State 
that deserves to be held in remembrance to the latest ages, 
I take the liberty of offering to the State, as a present 
through you, its chief magistrate, the bust of that great 
man and good soldier to perpetuate his memory.” 

Out of the Union 

The dissolution of the Confederacy wrought no change 
in State affairs. For years North Carolina had imposed 
and collected customs duties and had regulated her commerce 
and her currency, and her judiciary, as her Legislature, 
was supreme in the exercise of the powers conferred by her 
Constitution. The powers delegated to the Continental 
Congress related particularly to foreign affairs, and it was 
chiefly as to these matters that the State was affected by the 
passing away of the Confederacy. 

During this period of separation the State exercised 
every attribute of sovereignty and opened communications 
with the Spanish authorities involving foreign relations. 
The Treasury was in easy circumstances. The annual ex¬ 
penditures for administration, including £37,500 for the As¬ 
sembly, were bare £50,000; while the receipts in cash were 
quite that amount, and an equal amount in certificates. At 
the settlement with the Treasurer at the end of the year 1790, 
there was in the Treasury £49,454; due from the sheriffs, 
£72,000 in cash and £69,356 in certificates, besides £15,629 
due from individuals; and the healthy condition of the 
Treasury then led to a reduction of taxation. 


1789 


John Paul 
Jones 


S. R., XXI, 
527 


The 

sovereign 

state 


Prosperity 


S. R., XXI, 
1066 



io8 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


Conditions 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
255 


Vol. I, 16 


Life of 
Iredell, II, 
280 


Ibid., 304 


The people were enjoying prosperity. Accessions were 
continually being made to the population. Business was 
good, particularly at the east, although necessarily the 
western counties suffered for the want of transportation. 
While thus separated, the State was particularly prosperous, 
industry reaping substantial rewards. Commerce had im¬ 
proved and during the fall and winter of 1788-89, more 
vessels sailed out of the port of Wilmington than at any 
previous time since the opening of the Revolution; lumber, 
staves, shingles, etc., being in great demand for the West 
Indies. Likewise the business of the other ports had greatly 
increased, and foreign seamen were found in all these marts 
of commerce; so that the better to meet the requirements of 
the new conditions, special maritime courts had been estab¬ 
lished to be held at the four ports, with jurisdiction of cases 
arising in mercantile matters and where one of the parties 
was a foreign merchant or a foreign seaman. The customs 
duties brought in a substantial revenue; while the taxes 
laid to be paid in certificates as well as in money were amply 
productive. Because of her great trade a French Consul 
was . settled at Wilmington and vessels intended for the 
French trade had to be cleared from that port. 

Prices were remunerative. Provisions and everything 
else except house rent were cheaper in New York than in 
Edenton. Social life was in full sway. When “the divine 
Polly Long married Bassett Stith at Halifax, the nuptials 
were celebrated by twenty-two consecutive dinner parties, 
each dinner being succeeded by a dance, and all terminating 
with a general ball.” Newspapers were published at Fay¬ 
etteville, Wilmington, Edenton and Halifax. But in the 
isolated interior where there were no sawmills to make 
plank, nor brickkilns, and where transportation was diffi¬ 
cult, life was primitive. Still, the people had their enjoy¬ 
ments and government sat lightly on them. 

There was no change in the administration of domestic 
affairs. The quietude, the general advancement of all in- 



AID FOR THE GENERAL TREASURY 109 


terests in the settled portions of the State, and the settling 
of the western portion continued to progress as legitimate 
results of the prudent action of her statesmen. 

To pay her obligation to the Confederacy, the State pur¬ 
chased tobacco with State currency, and sold the same for 
specie or exchange. Thus in May, Governor Johnston of¬ 
fered for sale one thousand hogsheads of tobacco; and the 
Treasury Board wrote to him: “If the State of North 
Carolina at this junction by the sale of this tobacco shall 
come to the relief of the General Treasury, it.will be ren- 
dering a service honorable to themselves and highly ac- 556 
ceptable to the Union.” 


At the west 

At the west the hostility of the Indians inflamed by the 
encroachments of the settlers and particularly by the activity 
of Sevier, gave great concern. Commissions were appointed 
to bring about a peace. Finally it was agreed that there 
should be an exchange of prisoners, the Indians and the 
whites having about an equal number of captives, some 
twenty-eight on a side. But to make a treaty it was nec- ibid., 547 
essary for the Indians to assemble in large numbers and it 
was expensive to provide sustenance for them. Col. John 
Steele, one of the commissioners wrote: “We calculate 
upon 1,000 or 1,500 Indians who will attend the Cherokee 
treaty, to say nothing of the whites. The estimated ex¬ 
pense for thirty days was 1,200 bushels of corn; 100 horned 
cattle; 50 bushels of salt; 600 gallons of rum; 40 soldiers, 

. ’ ■ ^ Nov., 1781 

linguists, etc.” It was Governor Johnston’s good fortune 
so to conduct affairs as to allay irritation, induce quietude 
and promote the general prosperity, so that the State made 
more satisfactory progress during the period when she was 
not in the Union than ever before. 



110 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


1789 


Life of 
Iredell, 
274 


The canvass 

As the time came on for the August elections, the rati¬ 
fication of the Constitution again became a burning question. 
Although the Federals had achieved such a decided victory 
in the Assembly, the Anti-Federals were not quiescent. 
They entered actively into the canvass to prevent ratifica¬ 
tion. Congress was dilatory in proposing the amendments 
desired by many of the states, and the antis were urging 
this nonaction on the attention of the people. But to the 
joy of the Federals, Madison brought forward a measure 
embodying the amendments, and that argument was silenced. 
As North Carolina was not a member of the Union, her 
people did not vote for either Congressmen or President, 
and the laws and authority of the United States did not 
extend to her. In the Tariff act, passed July 31, 1789, im¬ 
ports of merchandise from North Carolina paid the same 
duties as those from Europe, while her local productions 
entered free of duty; but later, a duty was imposed on “rum, 
sugar, and chocolate” produced in the State and imported 
into the United States; nor were United States courts pro¬ 
vided for the State. The State judiciary was supreme. 
The judges and other officers who preferred to be inde¬ 
pendent of any Federal government lent their influence 
against ratification, and the public men were divided not 
only on that question, but as well on a proposition to make 
another issue of paper currency. There was a great com¬ 
motion throughout the State, for there were no party organ¬ 
izations ; and in addition to the Assemblymen five delegates 
were to be chosen for each county. As a consequence, there 
were great changes in the personnel of the membership, 
a majority of the Assembly being new members. While 
11, the Federals were hopeful that they had carried the Con¬ 
vention, yet the matter was in doubt and could not be ascer¬ 
tained until the body should convene. But now the current 
was running strongly for the Union. In September Con- 



DICKSON’S VIEWS 


hi 


gress submitted the amendments to the states and there 
was no doubt of their adoption. The reason for delay had 
passed away. In the Convention of 1788 William Dickson 
was in the opposition. Just following the second conven¬ 
tion he wrote: “I was convinced of the propriety as well 
as the necessity of yielding up some of the privileges we 
enjoy as freemen for the sake of a more permanent and 
efficient government, but I believe that the State of North 
Carolina would not have adopted the government of the 
United States for this principle only. It was a matter of 
necessity rather than choice. Virginia, though with much 
reluctance, and the other states around us having previously 
adopted the Federal plan, the State of North Carolina could 
not remain independent of the Union and support the 
dignity of the State itself. Had Virginia only stood out 
with us, I think North Carolina would not have been in 
of the Union yet." Such was the great reason why North 
Carolina abandoned the course mapped out by Willie Jones 
in 1788, and did not await the adoption of the amendments 
prior to ratification. 

The Federals successful 

The Assembly met November 2 at Fayetteville, and or¬ 
ganized by electing Caswell Speaker of the Senate and Ca¬ 
barrus Speaker of the House, and their election indicated 
that the Federals were in the ascendancy, and this was still 
further assured when the Governor was reelected. Many 
persons were members of both the Assembly and of the 
Convention and on the 14th the Assembly adjourned during 
the sitting of the Convention. On the 16th the Convention 
met. There was still a violent and virulent opposition to 
the Constitution, but the Federals were in control. It was 
well attended, there being 272 members present. The coun¬ 
ties beyond the mountains were all represented and among 
the delegates was John Sevier. Halifax sent a solid Fed¬ 
eral delegation. Governor Johnston was again chosen to 


Dickson’s 

letters 


Nov., 1789 




112 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


Ratification 


In the 
Union 


preside, and as he was unwell, Charles Johnston was 
elected Vice-president, the antis presenting Judge Spencer 
as their choice, but he was defeated. 

On November 17 the Convention resolved itself into 
a committee of the whole with Col. John B. Ashe in the 
chair, and four days were passed in considering the instru¬ 
ment. Judge Spencer, General Brown, McDowell, Kenan, 
Person, Yancey, Bloodworth, Strudwick, Lenoir, Graves, 
Pearsall, and Galloway were still opposed, but the Conven¬ 
tion by a vote of 195 to 77 determined to ratify, at the same 
time adopting the twelve amendments submitted by Con¬ 
gress. Mr. Galloway offered some additional amendments 
to be presented by the Assembly, which also were adopted. 
The Convention, having by ordinance granted a member of 
the House to Fayetteville as a borough town, adjourned on 
November 22. North Carolina’had been disassociated from 
her sisters since the formation of the new government in 
the spring, but now was again a member of the LMion. 

The election of Senators and Representatives and of the 
President had occurred nearly a year earlier, North Caro¬ 
lina having no part in the election of the first President, 
nor participating in the first session of Congress. 

Davie in the Assembly 

In the Assembly Davie, who represented the town of 
Halifax, was the leading member. He introduced many 
important measures. Now that the State was to be repre¬ 
sented in Congress, he brought forward a bill to provide 
for the election of Senators, another for the election of 
five Representatives, one being allotted to the region be¬ 
yond the mountains, the election to be held in February. 
The proposed amendments to the Constitution were at once 
ratified; and no further objection was made to the cession 
of the western territory. In the act passed to convey to 
the United States that territory, provision was made for 
the soldiers who were entitled to grants under former 




UNIVERSITY CHARTERED 


laws; and it was stipulated that Congress should not inter¬ 
fere with slavery there. 

Tlie University 

Many academies had been established in various parts of 
the State, and facilities for acquiring an education were 
within the reach of those who had the means to pay the 
expenses; but Davie was not content, and he developed the 
idea of building up a state university. At that time the 
leading institutions of learning were Harvard, Yale, Prince¬ 
ton, and William and Mary. Martin had often presented 
the subject of education to the Assembly and Hooper, John¬ 
ston, Iredell, and others had been warm in their advocacy 
of such measures. Davie’s proposition to establish a uni¬ 
versity was doubtless the subject of much personal com¬ 
munication and received general cooperation. In a letter to 
Iredell, he mentions : “The university bill will certainly pass.” 
There seems to have been no particular opposition to grant¬ 
ing the charter: forty of the leading men were made trus¬ 
tees, and that was followed by a grant of certain debts due 
to the State and of all escheats. This was the first propo¬ 
sition for state aid to education, and one member was so 
opposed to it that he filed a protest. A bill was introduced 
to carry into effect the ordinance of the Convention of 
1788 locating the seat of government, but again the friends 
of Fayetteville were successful in opposing it, and it failed 
by a single vote. 

Death of Caswell 

While Caswell, Martin and some others were Federals, 
they formed a faction differing with Johnston, Iredell, 
Davie, and Hooper; and they generally held the popular ear. 
Indeed at times they advocated measures of temporary 
interest although violative of those sound policies which the 
other faction adhered to with persistence. Thus in 1789, 
when currency became scarce, there was a movement to 
8 




THE SEPARATE STATE 


114 


issue more notes, advocated by Person, the Blounts, and 
Caswell; but Caswell’s sudden death deprived them of his 
aid, and the proposition fell through. On November 10 
during the session, General Caswell, then Speaker of the 
Senate, died. A state funeral was accorded him, and the 
Assembly went into mourning for him for one month. 
Thus passed away a man who had been justly esteemed as 
one of the foremost of his contemporaries. A year later, 
Hooper/ in October, 1790, the State mourned the death of William 
and C Penn Hooper, who was highly endowed by nature and was one 
of the most cultivated of the public men of America—who, 
indeed, earlier than the Revolution, had “cast his philosophic 
eye to the future” and beheld a new nation in the new 
world. And it was his fortune, as a signer of the Decla¬ 
ration of Independence, to have a chief hand in bringing 
the vision into reality. About the same time Maclaine, like¬ 
wise a man of unusual endowments, but possessed of a bit¬ 
ing tongue and violent prejudices, passed away; while 
earlier, in September, 1788, John Penn died at his home 
on Aaron Creek in Granville County in the 48th year of his 
age. He was just 35 years old when he signed the Declara¬ 
tion of Independence. He was born in Virginia and came 
to this State when 33 years old and quickly took rank with 
the other unusual men of that period. He was a lawyer, 
“possessed of genius and eloquence of a high order.” In 
1780 he was one of the three men appointed as a Board of 
War to carry on the military operations of the State and 
he performed other distinguished services until his death, 
which was greatly lamented. 

Tlie Great Experiment 

The early Continental Congresses were composed of del¬ 
egates voluntarily sent by the several colonies, each colony 
having a single vote; and the action taken was by “The 
Delegates of the United Colonies,” who, however, could 
only recommend. 



ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION 


ii 5 


When the colonies authorized their respective delegates to 
declare independence, each colony becoming an independent 
state, their delegates united in a “Declaration by the Rep¬ 
resentatives of the United States of America in Congress 
Assembled.” And after that their action was by “The 
Delegates of the United States in Congress Assembled.’’ 

It was then proposed to unite the several states in a Con¬ 
federation. The proposed agreement ran: 

Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the 
States of New Hampshire, North Carolina, etc. 

1. The style of the Confederacy shall be The United States of 
America. 

2. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence 
and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this Con¬ 
federation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress 
assembled. 

3. The said states hereby severally enter into a firm league of 
friendship with each other, etc. 

By Article 13 no alteration was to be made in the articles March, i78i 
“unless confirmed by the legislatures of every state.” Each 
state had to adopt this Confederation. It was not until 
February 12, 1781, that Maryland adopted it and gave in¬ 
structions to her delegates to sign the articles. On Feb¬ 
ruary 22, when Washington was closing in on Cornwallis, 
the delegates from Maryland appeared and took their 
seats; and March 1 was set for completing the Confed¬ 
eration. At 12 o'clock, Thursday, March 1, the hour ar¬ 
rived. The articles were in great formality signed and an¬ 
nounced. “This happy event,” said the Gazette, “was imme¬ 
diately announced by the discharge of artillery on land 
and the cannon on the shipping in the Delaware.” At two 
o’clock the President of Congress received the congratu¬ 
lations of the Minister from France, the civil and military 
officers, and civilians. The evening was closed by an ele¬ 
gant exhibition of fireworks. The frigate Ariel, com- 

. Life of 

manded by the gallant lohn Paul lones, fired a feu de ioie Thomas 

J J J Smith 

and was beautifully decorated.” Now Congress was no (Konkie) 

135j 136 

longer a Congress of delegates but the Congress of the 



n6 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


Treaties 


The dual 
Government 


states, and the minutes were proudly headed: “The United 
States in Congress assembled.” 

Treaties were entered into with foreign nations: one 
in April, 1783, between “The King of Sweden, of the Goths 
and Vandals, etc., and the thirteen United States of North 
America; to wit: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, North 
Carolina,” etc., naming each of the thirteen. The other 
treaties were similar. 

Great Britain, in her Treaty of Peace, in 1783, said: 
“Art. 1. His Britannic Majesty, acknowledging the said 
United States, viz: New Hampshire, etc., North Carolina, 
etc., (naming each) to be free, sovereign and independent 
states . . . that he treats with them as such,” etc. 

The Constitution proposed in 1787 closely followed the 
Articles of Confederation in many respects. It was to go 
into operation “between the states.” It was to be amended 
only by the states; but it could be amended by three-fourths 
of the states. Each state had its equal representation in the 
Senate; and each state had its agreed number of represent¬ 
atives, and the President was to be elected by the states, 
each state appointing its agreed number of electors; and if 
no election then each state having a single vote. And 
“treason against the United States shall consist only in 
levying war against them.” 

But while the Union remained a confederation of the 
states, it was something more. The powers of government 
were divided into two parts, those relating to certain speci¬ 
fied objects and purposes being vested in the Congress, all 
others remaining with the several states respectively. Powers 
of government could be conferred on Congress only by the 
people of a definite number of states. The government 
established thus became a part of the government of each 
state; and there was created a confederated union of 
states, not, however, a union of the people—so that there 
was no single political entity known as a nation created. 



SOVEREIGN POWERS OF STATES 


ii 7 


Indeed so foreign to each other do the states remain that 
the Constitution imposes the particular duty on the United 
States “to protect each state from invasion”; otherwise, 
apparently, a state might be invaded and conquered and the 
United States have no duty in the matter. 

As heretofore said, in the original draft the word “Na¬ 
tional” was used, but later it was carefully eliminated, the 
purpose not being to form a nation of people but a union 
of states; and furthermore, when it was proposed in the Con¬ 
vention to confer on Congress the right to make a state 
observe the Constitution, the proposition was at once 
rejected. 

As originally drafted and adopted the Constitution began: 
“We, the people of New Hampshire,” etc., “North Caro¬ 
lina,” etc., (naming each of the thirteen states), “do ordain 
and establish,” etc., but when the instrument was com¬ 
mitted to the committee on style, it being evident that the 
language was inappropriate, since the Constitution was to 
go into effect between the first nine states that ratified it and 
there was no telling which states they would be, nor indeed 
that every state would eventually ratify it, the present form 
was adopted: “We, the people of the United States” that 
being the designation of the Confederacy, and in the plural, 
not singular, and it meaning—We, the people of the ratify¬ 
ing states now united. As North Carolina and Rhode Island 
did not ratify at first, the necessity of the change in lan¬ 
guage is apparent. 

The sovereign power of establishing government and of 
changing its government was not relinquished by any state, 
and on the other hand Virginia, New York and Rhode 
Island, each, when ratifying the Constitution, expressly as¬ 
serted its right to exercise that sovereign power. 


Elliott’s 

Debates 



n8 


THE SEPARATE STATE 


The dual government thus formed when the people of 
the states, continuing their own state government, created 
this new government of specified but supreme power, by 
Congress, was a novelty; and it was called “The Great 
Experiment," and for a time it was not known how soon it 
would fall to pieces. But it has worked well when observed, 
and it has been considered the masterpiece of human 
wisdom. 



CHAPTER VIII 


In the Union 

The Federalists rejoice.—Congress extends laws.—Stokes ap¬ 
pointed Judge, succeeded by Sitgreaves.—Representatives elected. 
—Abolition petitions.—The Senators execute conveyance of Ten¬ 
nessee.—Divergences *in Congress.—State debts.—The trade.— 
Clash between the State and Federal courts.—The judiciary 
system altered.—The General Assembly.—The Assembly rejects 
oath to support Federal Constitution.—Dissatisfaction with Sena¬ 
tors.—Another post route desired.—Proposition to fix Capital lost. 
—Martin again Governor.—Spruce McCay Judge.—Jones Solicitor- 
General.—The Dismal Swamp Canal chartered.—Grove and Macon 
elected Representatives.—The census gives the State ten mem¬ 
bers.—The population.—Powers by implication.—The settlement 
of Buncombe.—Asheville.—Washington’s visit.—His notes of 
travel.—Goes through East, returns through West. 


The vexed question of joining the Union being settled, 
the Federalists were full of rejoicing and looked with hope 
to the future; but still there were many of the inhabitants 
who were in doubt, and some were discontented. 

Congress quickly took up the matter of regulating com¬ 
merce in North Carolina and extended the tariff laws, but 
some months elapsed before it established the Federal 
courts in the State. It was supposed that Iredell would be 
offered the district judgeship for North Carolina; but 
there being a vacancy in the Supreme Court, the President 
appointed him to that high position. Later, Davie was 
offered the appointment of district judge which he de¬ 
clined; and Col. John Stokes was appointed. Judge Stokes, 
however, died in October, and Sitgreaves succeeded to the 
office. William H. Hill of New Hanover was the first 
district attorney. 

All during the year there was excitement in the State 
over the action of Congress and much dissatisfaction, and 
although the issue which had divided the parties in the 
State had disappeared on the acceptance of the Constitu¬ 
tion, yet the difference between the leaders and among the 
people remained. 


120 


IN THE UNION 


The election of Representatives, which took place early in 
February, resulted in favor of candidates who adhered to the 
Federal party, except in the Cape Fear district where 
Timothy Bloodworth was chosen; the other Representatives 
were Hugh Williamson, John B. Ashe and John Steele of 
Rowan, and Sevier from across the mountains. 

Tennessee ceded 

The Legislature on December 22, 1789, had passed a bill 
ceding the western territory to the United States. At that 
period there was an active society for the abolition of 
slavery and at the outset petitions had been offered to Con¬ 
gress to abolish slavery in the states; North Carolina there¬ 
fore inserted in her cession a provision that “no regulation 
made or to be made by Congress shall tend to emancipate 
slaves/' There was also a reservation of the right to locate 
military grants in a portion of the territory set apart for 
that purpose. 

Governor Johnston and Senator Hawkins set out in Jan- 
The Senators uary for New York. The 'former, arriving on the 28th, 
wrote: “My nerves have not yet recovered the shock of the 
wagon, though I came through in very good health, and 
less fatigued than I expected after from Baltimore to this 
place in less than four days. The roads were very bad 
and we rode much at nig'ht. Once it was near 12 at night 
before we arrived at our inn.” The coaches were merely 
large wagons, the high sides and canopies supported bv 
upright beams. 

On February 25, 1790, the two Senators from North Car¬ 
olina made a deed of the western territory to Congress 
reciting the above provisions, and on April 2, 1790, Con¬ 
gress accepted the deed and cession. Then the State became 
relieved of further embarrassment because of the western 
territory, which afterwards became known as Tennessee. 



LOG ROLLING POLITICS 


121 


Iii Congress 

Almost all the members of Congress belonged to the 
Federal party; but the issue of ratification having passed 
away, divisions now arose on measures proposed in the 
Congress. There were divergences that naturally sprang 
up between New England and Virginia, between the North 
and the South. Washington, endowed with great natural 
sagacity, sought to nationalize his administration; and among 
the propositions brought forward was that of Hamilton 
to restore public credit by securing all public indebtedness; 
not only was the Continental debt to be funded, but the 
State debts were to be assumed. Anticipating the adop¬ 
tion of this program, the speculators hastened to buy at 
low prices all certificates, both Continental and State. 
Early in March the proposition passed the House by a ma¬ 
jority of five; but there was a motion to reconsider, and 
the arrival of the North Carolina members was looked for 
with great interest. Senator Johnston was strongly op¬ 
posed, and on April 6 he was able to write that Williamson, 
who had arrived, agreed perfectly with him, and had taken 
a conspicuous part in the debate. Then the others came, 
and by their votes the measure was defeated by two ma¬ 
jority. Smarting under their defeat, the New England 
members became very sore and impatient. Their dissat¬ 
isfaction was extreme. Finally, Jefferson arranged with 
Hamilton and Madison that two Virginia members should 
vote for “assumption” in consideration of the location of 
the Federal Capital on the Potomac. That trade was con¬ 
summated, and the state debts were assumed. 

As reasonable as was this measure in theory, it was un¬ 
equal in its operation; and most of the certificates had been 
purchased by speculators, who reaped rich profit. It caused 
great dissatisfaction in North Carolina, which was largely 
increased by subsequent events. 


1790 


The factions 


The trade 



122 


IN THE UNION 


Judicial con¬ 
flict 


November, 

1790 


New judicial 
system 


The Assembly 

One of the chief objects the lawyers had in view at the 
last Assembly was to remodel the court system. Defeated 
at that time, they hoped for success at the approaching ses¬ 
sion. The Assembly organized on the first day of No¬ 
vember at Fayetteville, with Gen. William Lenoir Speaker 
of the Senate and Stephen Cabarrus Speaker of the House. 
Governor Martin in his message urged a reform in the 
judiciary system, indicating the necessity for an additional 
judge; he also directed attention to the desirability of an¬ 
other post route, the only one being confined to the sea¬ 
board towns. 

Just prior to the meeting of the Assembly there was the 
first clash between the State and the Federal judiciary. 
A suit had been brought by some British subjects against 
Judge Iredell and Mr. Collins as executors of R. Smith. 
A certiorari was issued from the Federal Circuit Court 
by direction of Judges Wilson, Blair and Rutledge to the 
judges of the State Superior Court to bring the suit up to 
the Federal court. The North Carolina court declined to 
obey and on November 19 presented an account of the 
matter to the Assembly with a statement of their reasons 
for declining to obey the writ. The Assembly approved 
their action, although there was a protest against its de¬ 
cision. That ended the matter. 

It was at the instance of the judges rather than of the dis¬ 
satisfied lawyers that the court law was amended, and an¬ 
other judge was provided for. The State was thereupon 
divided into two circuits; four districts at the west constitut¬ 
ing one, and those of Halifax, Edenton, and Wilmington the 
other. Two judges were to attend each court, but such 
changes were to be made that the same two judges should 
not hold the same court successively. It was the duty of 
the Attorney-General to attend each court, but under this 
new arrangement it became necessary to have an additional 



CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS 


123 


attorney to act for the State, and provision was made for a 
Solicitor-General who should have equal authority with 
the Attorney-General. It was directed that these two 
officers should arrange the legal business in such manner 
as would be most convenient for them. 

The labors of the judges were lessened by giving ex¬ 
clusive jurisdiction to the county courts of all indictments 
for assaults, batteries and petty larcenies and for actions 
of slander. There was a further enactment that no process 
or judgment in any civil cause should be arrested or 
quashed for any defect or want of form; and the courts 
were empowered to amend all defects at any time upon such 
conditions as they might impose. 

As Tennessee was cut off, it now became necessary to 
provide for an election of five Representatives from the 
State for the next Congress, and the counties were ar¬ 
ranged into “the Albemarle, the Roanoke, the Center, the 
Yadkin, and the Cape Fear divisions.” From Mecklenburg 
to the Virginia line formed the Yadkin division; the dis¬ 
trict of Ffillsboro together with the counties of Franklin and 
Warren formed the Center division. The election was or¬ 
dered for the last Thursday in January. 

In the Assembly there was much irritation displayed in 
reference to Federal affairs. The judges were applauded 
for their action in the certiorari matter. 

The proposition to require the State officers and members 
of the Assembly to take an oath to support the Constitution 
of the United States was rejected by a vote of 55 to 26. 
And an act was passed disqualifying all persons who should 
hold an office under the authority of the United States from 
holding any office of the State. And it was particularly de¬ 
clared that Senators and Representatives should be consid¬ 
ered as coming within the meaning and purview of the act, 
and they were made ineligible to State appointments. 

Resolutions were considered in committee of the whole 
about the propriety of giving, instructions to Senators John- 


The districts 


S. R., XXI, 
21 


Instructions 



124 


IN THE UNION 


ston and Hawkins, whose conduct was displeasing to the 
Assembly. More resentment seems to have been felt to¬ 
wards Hawkins than Governor Johnston. Neither Senator 
attended the Assembly, while under the Confederation the 
delegates either attended or wrote giving an account of the 
action Congress had taken. Steele and Williamson appear 
1655 ’ to have been present at the session, and Williamson brought 

forward some project to defeat the Assumption Act; that, 
however, miscarried. The resolutions adopted contained 
a protest against the assumption of the debts of the several 
states, and a declaration that the Senators and Representa¬ 
tives should request the advice of the Assembly to prevent 
injuries that might arise to the State of North Carolina. 
In their resolutions they referred to the confidence they had 
in the integrity and industry of the Senators, but expressed 
their disappointment at their action. 

The Senators were directed to use unremitting exertions 
to abolish secret sessions, to correspond regularly and con¬ 
stantly with the Legislature and the Governor, and to have 
the journals printed and transmitted at least once a month. 
They were to use their utmost endeavors to effect economy 
and to decrease the monstrous salaries of public officers, 
who ought not to be enriched with the bounty of regal 
ibid., 962 splendor, and they should strenuously oppose every excise 
and direct taxation law. Also they were required to en¬ 
deavor to have another post route established through the 
State, and another Federal court held in the State. 

Governor Martin as president of the Board of Trustees of 
the University presented a memorial urging a loan to that 
institution for the purpose of erecting needed buildings. 
Such a proposition was offered, but it was resolved that the 
bill lie over till the next Assembly. Then on motion of 
General Person the bill was directed to be printed together 
with the yea and nay vote for the delay, and annexed to the 
laws and also published in the Gazette so that the people 
could better consider it. 



INTERSTATE WATERWAY 


125 


Again the proposition to give effect to the ordinance of ^ 

the Convention fixing the seat of government failed. In the 
House it passed by the casting vote of the Speaker, but 
in the Senate it failed by the deciding vote of Speaker 
Lenoir. 

The Assembly once more manifested its full confidence 
in Governor Martin by reelecting him to the executive 
chair. Judge McCay was elected the additional judge; 
and Edward Jones, a man of unusual attainments, Solicitor- 
General. 

The Dismal Swamp Canal 

In December, 1786, at a meeting in Fayetteville of the 
commissioners appointed by the states' of Virginia and 
North Carolina terms were agreed on for a compact be¬ 
tween the states making free to both states the waters of 
the Roanoke, Chowan, etc., to the mouth of the Pasquotank, 
and the Chesapeake Bay to the capes, Hampton Roads, etc., 
with no duties on imports and exports, preliminary to the 
construction of a proposed Dismal Swamp Canal.' This 
commission dealt with some of the matters that led to Vir¬ 
ginia's proposition for a revision of the Articles of Con¬ 
federation, and now after four years a company to construct 
the proposed canal was chartered. Its capital was to be 
eighty thousand dollars, 320 shares of $250 each. The 
canal was to be cut from Deep Creek in Virginia to the 

r Acts 1790, 

Pasquotank River, to be 32 feet wide, 8 feet deep, and it ch. 26 , 
was to be supplied with water from Drummond Lake. The Revisai, 500 
compact between the states with regard to it was made 
unalterable and not subject to repeal without the consent 
of Virginia. 

Grove and Macon in Congress 

At the Congressional election, Bloodworth, an anti, was 
defeated bv William Barry Grove, a nephew of Mr. Hay 



126 


IN THE UNION 


The census 


1791 


and a man of parts, and Nathaniel Macon was elected in 
the Warren District. While Macon disavowed belonging 
to any party, he had been associated with the antis and in 
the Congress he was a Southerner and cooperated with 
those who later classed themselves as Republicans in op¬ 
position to the clique who were charged with hoping for a 
monarchy and strong government. 

While the census was to be taken in 1790, apparently, 
the enumeration was not concluded in North Carolina until 
in January, 1791. It was taken by deputy marshals, but 
their duties were imperfectly performed so that the result 
was not entirely reliable. However, it was found that 
North Carolina had so many more inhabitants than mem¬ 
bers of the Constitutional Convention had thought that her 
representation in Congress was increased from five to ten; 
and later, ten districts were laid off. The population in the 
State was stated as being, whites 288,204; free blacks, 
4,975; slaves 100,572; while that of Tennessee was 32,013; 
361; and 3,417. Of all the states Massachusetts alone re¬ 
ported no slaves. In Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina 
and Georgia, the whites were only twice as numerous as 
the slaves; but in North Carolina there were nearly three 
whites to one slave; and in the western half of the State 
the number of slaves was relatively small, there being 
70,000 in the eastern counties and only 30,000 at the west, 
where the whites were more numerous. 

The attitude of the Assembly towards the delegation in 
Congress was not without its effect. There was no further 
cause of complaint that members were silent or inattentive. 
Letter's came pouring in and the changes were rung on 
the assumption of state debts, funding the national debt, 
and the excise tax, subjects of particular interest to the 
people of the State; and when in July, 1791, it was pro- 
proposed to establish a national bank, the fundamental 
structure of the new government which had previously been 
so intently considered was again examined. It was urged 



BUNCOMBE AND ASHEVILLE 


127 


that if powers by implication were allowed, any power could 
be implied, and thus almost at the beginning, public men 
differed on powers by implication. 

The settlement of Buncombe 

Settlers had early pushed far to the west across the 
mountains into Tennessee at the north, but the Cherokees 
held the mountain country at the south. It was not until 
about 1781 that settlers around Old Fort began to cross the 
mountains into the Swannanoa Valley. Among the first 
was Samuel Davidson and his family, including one negro 
woman slave. The Indians killed him, but the Davidsons, 
Smiths, Alexanders and Edmundsons persisted. Ruther¬ 
ford County and Burke embraced the territory, but in 1791 
the county of Buncombe was incorporated by the Assembly, 
so named in honor of Col. Edward Buncombe, born in St. 
Kits, a resident of that part of Tyrrell County now in 
Washington County, a distinguished patriot during the 
Revolution, who was killed at the battle of Germantown. 
The county seat was fixed at Morristown, a site laid off 
by John Burton on his land, but in 1795 the residents began 
to call it Asheville, in honor of the then Governor—a leading 
Anti-Federalist. Its climate and situation and the pro¬ 
gressive spirit of its citizens have given it a fame that makes 
it one of the best known localities of the South. 

The State as Washington saw it 

The President had in the autumn of 1790 made a tour of 
the North and in the spring of 1791 he visited the Southern 
States. Leaving Mount Vernon April 7, he reached there 
on his return the 13th of June. While some few persons 
were aware that General Washington proposed to make this 
tour of the South, the date and his movements were not 
generally known. Efe traveled in his own carriage and 
without ostentation and expected to find entertainment at 
taverns along the road. It was not his wish to be enter- 




128 


IN THE UNION 


1791 


Trade at 
Halifax 


Washington’s 

diary 


Tarboro 


tained or to be accompanied by troops of horsemen. While 
here and there, there were those who were at variance with 
the General because of his advocacy of the new government, 
the common feeling must have been one of gladness at his 
presence in the State. 

Halifax was the first town he came to in North Carolina, 
he reaching there about six o’clock on the evening of Sat¬ 
urday, April 16. “To this place vessels, by the aid of oars 
and setting poles, are brought for the produce which comes 
to this place and others along the river, and may be carried 
eight or ten miles higher up to the falls which are neither 
great nor of much extent. The town seems to be in a de¬ 
cline and does not, it is said, contain a thousand souls. 
Colonel Ashe, the Representative of the district, and several 
other gentlemen, called upon and invited me to partake of 
a dinner which the inhabitants were desirous of seeing me 
at, and, accepting it, dined with them accordingly.” The 
next night he spent at Tarboro. “This place is less than 
Halifax, but more lively and thriving. Crossed the Tar 
on a bridge of a great height from the water. Corn, pork 
and some tar are the exports from it. We were received at 
this place by as good a salute as could be given by one piece 
of artillery. ... At 6 o’clock I left Tarboro accom¬ 
panied by some of the most respectable' people of the place 
for a few miles. Greenville is on the Tar River, and the 
exports the same as from Tarboro, with a greater propor¬ 
tion of tar. This article is rolled as tobacco by an axis 
which goes through both heads—one horse draws two 
barrels in this manner.” At Greenville a small party of 
horse under Colonel Simpson joined the General, and al¬ 
though he sought to keep them from accompanying him,, 
for he did not desire to be so attended, they kept with him 
to New Bern. At the ferry over the Neuse, ten miles from 
New Bern, “we were met by a small party of horse, the 
district judge, Judge Sitgreaves, and many of the 
principal inhabitants, who conducted us into town to ex- 


New Bern 



WASHINGTON’S NOTES OF TRAVEL 


129 


ceedingly good lodgings. . . . Vessels drawing more 

than nine feet can get up loaded. . . . The buildings 

are sparse and all of them of wood—some of which are 
large and look well. .. . The number of souls is about 2,000. 
The exports consist of corn, tobacco, pork, but principally of 
naval stores and lumber.” The next day “dined with the 
citizens at a public dinner given by them and went to a 
dancing assembly in the evening, both of which were at 
what they call the palace; a good brick building, but now 
hastening to ruins. . . . The company at both was 

numerous, at the latter there were about seventy ladies.” 
While at New Bern he wrote: “Upon the river Neuse and 
80 miles above New Bern, the Convention of the State made 
choice of a spot, or rather district, within which to fix the 
seat of government; but it being lower than the back mem¬ 
bers of the Assembly, who hitherto have been most numer¬ 
ous, inclined to have it, they have found means to obstruct 
it; but since the cession of the western territory it is sup¬ 
posed that the matter will be revived to good effect.” On 
Friday, 22d, he left New Bern under an escort of horse and 
many of the principal inhabitants, went through Trenton. 
On Saturday he made 44 miles and then, after proceeding 
sixteen miles on Sunday morning, he was met by a party of 
light-horse from Wilmington and, later, by a committee 
and other gentlemen of the town. When he arrived at two 
o’clock, they fired a Federal salute, and escorted him to very 
good lodgings and then he dined with the committee at 
their invitation. The road from New Bern to Wilmington 
“passes through the most barren country I ever saw.” Wil¬ 
mington “has some good houses, pretty compactly built, the 
whole under a hill, which is formed entirely of sand. . . . 

The number of souls by the enumeration is about 1,000,” but 
he mentioned that the census was badly taken. “Wilming¬ 
ton has a mud bank over which not more than ten feet of 
water can be brought at common tides, yet vessels of 250 
tons are said to have come up. Shipping annually about 


Wilmington 


9 



IN THE UNION 


r 3° 


1,200 tons. Exports chiefly naval stores and lumber, some 
tobacco, corn, rice, flax seeds with pork. Inland navigation 
to Fayetteville. . . . Fayetteville is a thriving place, 6,000 
hogsheads of tobacco, 3,000 of flax seed. Monday dined 
with the citizens of the place at a public dinner given by 
them; went to a ball in the evening at which there were 
62 ladies, illuminations, bonfires,” etc. A letter written by 
Mrs. Simpson, April 25: “Great doings this day, General 
Washington arrived yesterday. The light-horse went to 
meet him. The artillery were ready to receive him with a 
round from the batteries, four guns. This day he dines 
with the gentlemen of the town; in the evening a grand ball 
and illuminations; tomorrow takes his leave. Half-past 

Cape Fear, lour; just going to dinner; cannon firing. Cherry and 

20S , 

children all gone to see the procession. I must get the can¬ 
dles. Mrs. Quince has given up her house to the General, 
and she stays with our uncles.” 

The President left the next morning “accompanied by 
most of the gentlemen of the town” and about noon next 
day he crossed the line into South Carolina. 

On return—Charlotte 

The General on May 27 struck the North Carolina line 
south of Charlotte about five o’clock in the morning and 
reached Charlotte before three o’clock. “On entering the 
State of North Carolina, I was met by a party of Mecklen¬ 
burg horse, but these being near their homes I dismissed 
them. . . . Dined with General Polk and a small party in¬ 
vited by him, at a table prepared for the purpose.” Charlotte 
was then a very small village, “though the court of Mecklen¬ 
burg is held in it. There is a school called a college in it at 
which at times there has been 50 or 60 boys. . . . Feft 

Charlotte Sunday morning,” and the next day he was met 
by a party of horse of Rowan County that had come from 
Salisbury to escort him—and when five miles from Salis¬ 
bury was met by the Mayor and the Corporation, Judge 



TOWNS IN THE MAKING 131 


McCay and many others. “The lands between Charlotte 
and Salisbury are very fine and the first meadows I have 
seen since I left Virginia; and here also we appear to be 
getting into a wheat country. . . . Dined at a public 

dinner given by the citizens of Salisbury and in the after¬ 
noon drank tea at the same place with about twenty ladies. 

“Salisbury is but a small place, although it is the county 
town, and the district court is held in it. There are about 
300 souls in it and tradesmen of different kinds. . . . 

May 31—Left Salisbury and about four o’clock arrived at 
Salem, one of the Moravian towns, about miles from 

. . Salem 

Salisbury. . . . Salem is a small but neat village, and 

like all the rest of the Moravian settlements is governed by 
an excellent police, having within itself all kinds of artisans. 

The number of souls does not exceed 200.” June 1 he 
passed at Salem. “Spent the forenoon in visiting the shops 
of the different tradesmen, the houses of accommodation for 
the single men and sisters of the Fraternity, and their place 
of worship. Invited six of the principal people to dine with 
me, and in the evening went to hear them sing, perform on 
a variety of instruments—church music.” There he was 
joined by Governor Alexander Martin. The next day, ac¬ 
companied by Governor Martin, he dined at Guilford where 
there was a considerable gathering of people. “On my way, 

• I examined the ground on which the action between Gen¬ 
eral Greene and Lord Cornwallis commenced, and after 
dinner rode over that where the lines were formed and the 
score closed in the retreat of the American forces. The 
first line of which was advantageously drawn up, and had 
the troops done their duty properly the British'must have 
been <?orely galled in ye advance, if not defeated. The lands 
between Salem and Guilford are in places very fine. On 
my approach to this place I was met by a party of light- 
horse which I prevailed on the Governor to dismiss, and 
to countermand his orders for others to attend me through ^|J. lcsentl 
the State. ... In conversing with the Governor on the 





l 3 2 


IN THE UNION 


1791 


state of politics in North Carolina, I learned with pleasure 
that the opposition to the general government and the dis¬ 
content of the people were subsiding fast, and that he 
should, as soon as he received the laws which he had written 
to the Secretary of State for, issue his proclamation re¬ 
quiring all officers and members of the government to take 
leave of the Governor, whose intention was to attend me 
the oath prescribed by law. . . . Friday 3. Took my 
to the line, but for my request that he would not. Having 
this day passed the line of North Carolina and, of course, 
finished my tour through the three southernmost states, a 
general description of them may be comprised in the follow¬ 
ing few words: From the seaboard to the falls of all the 
rivers which water the lands, except the swamps on the 
rivers and the lesser streams which empty into them, and 
the internal land higher up the rivers, is with but few ex¬ 
ceptions, neither more nor less than a continued pine bar¬ 
ren, very thinly inhabited. The next part, the seaboard for 
many miles is dead level and badly watered. That above 
it is hilly and not much better than barren.” 

Conditions 

He mentioned as being cultivated in South Carolina, rice, 
corn, sweet potatoes and in the up-country—tobacco, corn, 
hemp and some smaller grain, and the same in North Caro- * 
lina, “except instead of rice, corn, some indigo, with 
naval stores and pork, but as indigo is on the decline, hemp 
and cotton are grown in its place. The prices of land in 
the lower part of the State are very great, those improved 
from 20 to" 30 pounds sterling and from 10 to 15 pounds in 
its rude state. The lands of the upper counties sell' from 
four to six or seven dollars. In the upper parts of North 
Carolina wheat is pretty much grown, and the farmers seem 
disposed to try hemp; but the land carriage is a considerable 
drawback having between 200 and 300 miles to carry the 
produce either to Charleston, Petersburg or Wilmington. 



MEANS FOR LIVING WELL 


133 


Excepting the towns and some gentlemen's seats on the 
whole road I traveled from Petersburg to this place, there 
is not a single house which has anything of elegant appear¬ 
ance. They are altogether of wood and chiefly of logs, 
some indeed have brick chimneys, but generally the chim¬ 
neys are split sticks, filled with dirt between them. . . 

The people, however, appear to have abundant means to 
live well, the grounds where they are settled yielding grain 
in abundance. The manners of the people, as far as my 
observation and means of information extended, were or¬ 
derly and civil, and they appeared to be happy, contented 
and satisfied with the general government, under which 
they were placed. Where the case was different, it was 
not difficult to trace the cause to some demagogue or 
speculating character.” 





1791 


CHAPTER IX 

The New Capital 

• 

The Assembly November, 1791.—The Assembly takes the oath 
to support Federal Constitution.—Commission appointed to lo¬ 
cate the capital.—Ten thousand dollars lent to University.—Po¬ 
litical fears.—Washington assents to reelection.—Commissioners 
meet to locate capital.—Lane conveys 1,000 acres near Wake 
Courthouse.—The City of Raleigh.—Trustees locate the Univer¬ 
sity.—Committee to erect buildings for fifty students.—The new 
districts change all Representatives but Grove and Macon.— 
Spaight Governor.—Martin replaces Johnston in Senate.—Mat¬ 
ters of concern.—Indians, England, France.—Genet.—The French 
privateers.—At Wilmington.—Eli Whitney invents the cotton 
gin.—Cotton and tobacco.—Haywood Judge.—Spencer’s death.— 
New Assembly.—The palace sold.—Hatteras lighthouse.—Fort 
at Smithville—Importance of Ocracoke.—The University.— 
A principal to be chosen.—Rev. David Kerr taken.—Hinton 
James the first pupil.—The State press.—Divergences.—Chis¬ 
holm v. Georgia.—The opinions of the judges.—Iredell’s princi¬ 
ples.—The Constitutional Amendment.—States’ rights in issue.— 
The Republicans elect all Representatives but Grove.—In De¬ 
cember, 1794, the Assembly meets in the new State House.—No 
town at Raleigh; few houses.—Bloodworth Speaker of House 
and U. S. Senator.—Importation of slaves prohibited except serv¬ 
ants accompanying their owner.—Other legislation as to negroes. 
—County fairs provided for.—Organization of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church.—Rev. Charles Pettigrew chosen Bishop but 
never consecrated.—Jay’s Treaty.—Republicans strengthened. 

The oath of allegiance 

When the session of the Legislature opened at New 
Bern on December 5, 1791, the members made no change 
either in the Governor or the speakers. But now having 
received copies of the Acts of Congress, there was early- 
passed “an act for altering the oath of allegiance to the 
State," by which “every person elected to any public office 
shall talce an oath that he will be faithful and bear true 
allegiance to the State of North Carolina and to the con¬ 
stitutional powers and authorities which are or may be es¬ 
tablished for the government thereof, and that he will en¬ 
deavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of 


CAPITAL AND UNIVERSITY 


135 


said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the 
United States, and that members of the Assembly shall 
take said oath, and also an oath to support the Constitution 
of the United States.” And the members afterwards took 
that oath. 

To locate the capital 

Under the treaty with Great Britain, provision had been 
made to secure the rights of British subjects in confiscated 
property; and the Assembly as a remedy against hardship 
agreed to reimburse those who had purchased confiscated 
lands and could not hold them. And now that the territory 
beyond the mountains had no voice, and Fayetteville’s in¬ 
fluence was not so strong, the Assembly appointed ten com¬ 
missioners, one for each congressional district, to carry 
into effect the ordinance to locate the Capital and lay off 
a plan for a city in Wake County. Similarly, the Assembly 
took a forward step in regard to the University. The 
board needed more funds before beginning earnest work, 
the provision theretofore made being inadequate. Again 
Davie was successful. His eloquent appeal to the Assembly 
was long remembered. Ten thousand dollars was lent from 
the Treasury, by a vote of 57 to 53 in the House, and 28 to 
21 in the Senate. Of those who voted for it in the House, 
Bloodworth should be mentioned, and in the Senate, Lane 
of Wake and General Person. 

The presidential election 

In the year 1792 there was to be a presidential election. 
The divergences among the public men were so sharp that 
Jefferson wrote to General Washington urging him to allow 
himself to be reelected. He emphasized that “a squadron” 
having the deciding voice in Congress had the design to 
get rid of the limitations of the Constitution with the ulti¬ 
mate object of changing the republican form of government 


Acts 1791, 
ch. 11, 
Martin’s 
Revisal, II, 
12 


Davie pro¬ 
motes the 
University 


1792 



136 


THE NEW CAPITAL 


Jefferson’s 
Works, IV, 
362 


The Capital 
located 


The 

University 


to that of a monarchy modeled after the British Constitu¬ 
tion. For himself he declared: “I can scarcely contemplate 
a more incalculable evil than the breaking of the Union 
into two or more parts.” He pointed out that that might 
happen and he therefore urged Washington to accept a re- 
election as he could prevent the people from being led “into 
secession.” Such apprehensions were rife for “the Great Ex¬ 
periment” was still in the experimental stage, and the people 
had fears of the future. Fortunately Washington assented, 
and at the election the Republicans gained a strong ascend¬ 
ancy in Congress, so that thoughts of a monarchy, if enter¬ 
tained, were abandoned. It was in the midst of these political 
movements that the commissioners met about the last of 
March to locate the capital. Only six attended. They se¬ 
lected an eligible location near Wake Courthouse and a 
deed was executed by Joel Lane, conveying to Governor 
Martin 1,000 acres, near the center of which was a hill that 
was chosen as the site for the Capitol building. A plan of 
the city was at once laid off, with five large public squares 
reserved, the central one, called Union Square, was for the 
Capitol; and the others were named Caswell, Moore, Nash 
and Burke, and acre lots were sold off at public auction. 
When, later, the report of the proceedings was made to the 
Assembly it was confirmed, and by the act of the Assembly 
the town was named “The City of Raleigh.” 

In like manner, the Trustees of the L^niversity met at 
Hillsboro, 25 out of the 40, on the 1st of August, and 
agreed that the location should be within a circle of fifteen 
miles from Cyprett’s bridge, on the main road from New 
Bern to Pittsboro, and pursuant thereto a committee met 
at Pittsboro on November 1, and on November 6 selected a 
hill known as New Hope Chapel Hill, where a chapel had 
been erected in former times, at the crossing of the great 
roads north and south, east and west. The owners of 
much land near by offered a considerable quantity of land 
if that site should be selected. The commissioners made 



SEVERE BLOW TO FEDERALISTS 


137 


their report to a committee consisting of Davie, McCorkle, 
Jones, Ashe and Sitgreaves and their action was approved 
and ratified; and a building committee was appointed to lay 
out a town, sell lots and erect buildings to accommodate 
fifty students. 

At the election for Representatives in Congress, it was 
found that in making the districts the counties had been so 
arranged that disaster befell Williamson and Ashe and 
Steele. Of the former representatives only Grove and 
Macon were retained. In the presidential election, North 
Carolina, like Virginia, gave her electoral votes to Washing¬ 
ton and to Clinton of New York, the latter being a states’ 
rights advocate. 

The Assembly 

In November, 1792, the Assembly met at .New Bern. 
The same speakers were reelected and the full constitu¬ 
tional period that Governor Martin could serve being com¬ 
pleted, Richard Dobbs Spaight was chosen Governor, his 
term beginning December 14, 1792; and Martin was elected 
Senator in Congress in the place of Sam Johnston. This 
was a severe blow to the Federalists for Johnston was at 
the head of that party in the State and had long been the 
commanding figure in political action, while in the Senate 
he had taken rank with the foremost of the Senators. 
Martin was not equal to him in solidity of character and 
attainments, but he was of such superior excellence that his 
appointment was likewise highly creditable to the State, 
and altogether he had served six years as Governor of the 
commonwealth. 

And now Spruce McCay was added to the Superior Court. 

The new Governor, Spaight, had been educated at the 
University of Glasgow and was entitled to high considera¬ 
tion because of his talents and accomplishments. He was 
the first native of the State to be chosen Governor. The 
early months of his term brought new matters to public at- 


The election 


1792 


Spaight, 

Governor 



138 


'THE NEW CAPITAL 


Genet’s 

action 


Privateers 


The cotton 
gin 


tention. An Indian war threatened, and preparations 
were made at the west for rendering aid to Georgia. More¬ 
over, foreign matters brought concern. Naturally, popular 
feeling was with France, now a republic, in her struggle 
against monarchical Europe, while the British government 
had aroused patriotic hostility. In April Citizen Genet ar¬ 
rived at Charleston and was warmly received. Instead 
of passing on to the seat of government at Philadelphia 
and presenting his credentials to President Washington, 
he began to fit out privateers. Washington proclaimed 
neutrality; but Genet ignored Washington and relied on 
popular support. Genet purchased vessels and armed them 
and sent them out to prey on British commerce. At Wil¬ 
mington, the Hector was purchased to be delivered June i 
on the high seas. She sailed from Charleston a few days 
later with her armament in her hold and, entering George¬ 
town, was fully equipped as a privateer, her name being 

changed to the Vanquer de Bastile. Sallying out, she fell 
in with an English merchant vessel which she captured 
and brought into Wilmington as a prize. At once Gov¬ 
ernor Spaight ordered Colonel Campbell of the New Han¬ 
over militia and Colonel Smith of the Brunswick militia, 
to call out their militia and seize both the Hector and the 
prize and hold them, and orders enforcing vigilance were 
given to the colonels of the seaboard counties. Similarly, 
other French privateers were fitted out at Charleston, and 
even at Philadelphia. The people were now divided in 
their sympathies. Eventually Genet was recalled, but while 
a successor was substituted, he himself preferred to re¬ 
main in America, where he resided the rest of his life. 

It was during this period of trouble that a very important 
invention was made by Eli Whitney, a native of Massa¬ 
chusetts, who had for some years been employed near Savan¬ 
nah. The drift away from slavery had perhaps been strength¬ 
ened by the French Revolution and its motto of fraternity 
and equality, emphasizing the brotherhood of man. The 




EXPORT OF COTTON BEGINS 


139 


Southern States were now prohibiting the introduction of 
negroes from abroad. But when this invention of Whit¬ 
ney’s, the cotton gin, by which the seed of cotton were 
readily separated from the lint, was perfected, the possi¬ 
bilities of cotton culture became realized. In 179° no C °L 
ton was exported from the United States. Up to then 
patches of cotton were grown chiefly for local use. But 
on the introduction of the cotton gin, exportations began; 
at first, in 1794, only a million and a half pounds; the next 
year, five millions; and slave labor at the far South became 
remunerative. The world needed cotton for clothing, and 
the South supplied it. Tobacco had already played a great 
role in American commerce, and now cotton was to be¬ 
come its twin southern sister. 

State affairs 

On the 24th of June, 1793, John Haywood was com¬ 
missioned a judge of the Superior Court, perhaps because of 
the inability of Judge Spencer to attend the courts; and 
the next year, on Spencer’s death, Haywood permanently 
replaced him. Judge Haywood was considered one of the 
greatest criminal lawyers of his generation. 

The Assembly met at Fayetteville in November. Its tone 
was unchanged; Spaight was reelected Governor. Lenoir 
and Leigh were the speakers. Among the acts passed was 
one allowing slaves in certain cases to have a jury trial, 
and another to sell the palace at New Bern. That last 
vestige of Royal rule was thus disposed of. A second ses¬ 
sion of the same Assembly was held in July, 1794, at New 
Bern, at which the title to four acres of land was vested 
in the United States at Hatteras for the purpose of con¬ 
structing a lighthouse there; and land was ceded at Smith- 
ville for a fort, and subsequently the United States took 
possession. However, the State had previously had a light¬ 
house at Ocracoke; and it was claimed that two-thirds of the 
commerce of the State passed through Ocracoke. This was 


1793 


Cotton 


1793 


The palace 
sold 




140 


THE NEW CAPITAL 


The 

University 


1794 


Battle: Hist. 
Univ., 65 


the last of the perambulatory legislatures. The Capitol build¬ 
ing at Raleigh had now been sufficiently completed for oc¬ 
cupancy, and the next meeting was to be held in it. 

Progress had been made at the University, the bricks 
being burnt on the land and the lime made from oyster 
shells brought from the Cape Fear by way of Fayetteville 
and burnt on the premises. The Trustees met on the ioth 
of January, 1794, to select a principal, and from half a 
dozen distinguished ministers, among them Rev. John 
Brown, afterwards President of the University of Georgia; 
Rev. James Tate, a famous educator of the Cape Fear; 
Rev. George Micklejohn of Regulator fame; Dr. Mc- 
Corkle, a distinguished teacher of Rowan County, and Rev. 
David Kerr, the Presbyterian pastor and school-teacher at 
Fayetteville, they chose the last named. The opening day 
was to be January 15, but it was not until February 12 
that the first pupil, Hinton James, arrived, coming from 
Wilmington; and then a fortnight elapsed before three 
others arrived, also from Wilmington, the sons of Alfred 
Moore, later justice of the Supreme Court, and their 
cousin, Richard Eagles. Others soon followed; and at the 
end of the term the number had increased to 41. 


The press 

From 1785 there had been steady increase in the number 
of presses and newspapers in the State. Indeed, Abram 
Hodge alone had presses at New Bern, Edenton, Halifax 
and Fayetteville, and was instrumental in establishing three 
newspapers. He was in five different firms, and at his 
death had served the State for fifteen years as “Printer to 
the State.” The printers generally had book stores, and 
they were instruments in distributing publications made by 
their patrons; and as it was in their line of business to pro¬ 
mote publications, they fostered the practice of reaching 
the public through such means. Indeed Davis, Martin and 
Hodge contributed much to broaden and strengthen the 



CONSTITUTION IN COURT 


intellectual advancement of North Carolina. Before the 
close of the century presses had been set up, besides those 
above mentioned, at Wilmington, Hillsboro, Salisbury, Lin- 
colnton and the “City of Raleigh.” 

States’ rights 

At the election that year the divergence between the Re¬ 
publicans under the leadership of Jefferson and the Feder¬ 
alists under that of Hamilton became more pronounced than 
ever and a decision rendered by the Supreme Court brought 
the academic question of states’ rights into the realm of 
reality and aroused the people who feared for their former 
liberties. In 1792, Chisholm, a citizen of South Carolina, as 
executor, having some unascertained claim against the 
State of Georgia, brought suit against that State in the 
Supreme Court of the United States. The Court took ju¬ 
risdiction and, Georgia not appearing, gave judgment by 
default. In the proceeding the several justices of the Su¬ 
preme Court filed opinions in which the differing views ex¬ 
pressed as to the nature of the government under the Con¬ 
stitution illustrate the divergence of thought at that early 
period. Chief Justice Jay said: “The people of the several 
colonies being subjects of Great Britain were fellow sub¬ 
jects and in a variety of respects one people. . . . From 

the Crown of Great Britain the sovereignty of their country 
passed to the people of it. Afterwards in the hurry of 
the war they made a confederation of states and then the 
people in their collective and national capacity estab¬ 
lished the present Constitution. They declared with be¬ 
coming dignity—‘We, the people of the United States do 
ordain and establish this Constitution.’ Here we see the peo¬ 
ple acting as sovereigns of the whole country, and in the 
language of sovereignty establishing a constitution, by 
which it was their will that the state governments should 
be bound, and to which the state constitutions should be 
made to conform. Every state constitution is a compact 


141 


Weeks: The 
Pi'ess of 
N. C„ 39, 
43, 49 


Chisholm vs. 
Georgia 


1794 



142 


THE NEW CAPITAL 


Iredell’s 

opinion 


1794 


made by and between the citizens of a state to govern them¬ 
selves in a certain manner; and the Constitution of the 
United States is likewise a compact made by the people of 
the United States to govern themselves as to general ob¬ 
jects in a certain manner. By this great compact, however, 
many state prerogatives were transferred to the national 
government.” 

Judge Wilson said: “The people of the United States 
were the citizens of her thirteen states, connected together 
by articles of confederation. The articles of confedera¬ 
tion, as it is well known, did not operate upon individual 
citizens, but operated only upon states. Before that 
time the Union possessed legislative, but unenforced legis¬ 
lative power over the states. Whoever considers, as a 
combined and comprehensive view, the general texture of 
the Constitution, will be satisfied that the people of the 
United States intended to form themselves into a nation, 
for national purposes. They instituted, for such purposes, 
a national government, complete in all its parts, with powers 
legislative, executive and judicial; and in all these parts 
extending over the whole nation.” Judge Wilson’s argu¬ 
ment was much stronger than that of the Chief Justice. 

The opinion of Iredell, a leading and staunch Federalist, 
was different. As a legal argument on the point in the 
case it was much superior to that of the Chief Justice; and 
in what reference he made to historical events he was 
much more accurate than any of the other justices. “A 
state does not owe its origin to the government of the United 
States. It was in existence before it. ... A state, though 
subject in certain specified particulars, to the authority of 
the government of the United States, is, in every other re¬ 
spect, totally independent of it. Every state in the 

Union, in every instance where its sovereignty has not been 
delegated to the United States, I consider to be as completely 
sovereign as the United States is in respect to the powers 
surrendered. . . . The United States are sovereign as to all 



STATES’ RIGHTS FORTIFIED 


143 


the powers of government actually surrendered; each state 
in the Union is sovereign as to all the powers reserved.” 
He said that the court had no jurisdiction; that Congress 
had not attempted to confer such jurisdiction on the court, 
nor did the Constitution provide that states might be sued 
by individuals. And in this he was but reiterating what 
he and others had earlier declared. He had earlier said as 
to any coercive power over states as states: “No man of 
common sense can any longer contend for that"; and to the 
same effect had John Marshall, afterwards the famous Chief 
Justice, expressed himself in the Virginia Convention: “I 
hope no gentleman will think that a state will be called at 
the bar of the Federal Court. It is not rational to suppose 
that the sovereign power will be dragged before a court.” 
And Maclaine, a most violent advocate of ratification, had 
spoken in the North Carolina Convention to the same effect. 
But Iredell was overruled, and judgment by default was 
entered against the State of Georgia. Immediately on 
March 5, 1794, a representative from Massachusetts pro¬ 
posed in Congress a constitutional amendment: “That the 
judicial power of the United States shall not be construed 
to extend to any suit commenced against a state by citizens 
of another state.” And Congress speedily passed the pro¬ 
posed amendment, and it came at once to the states for rati¬ 
fication and was ratified. The command was so positive that 
it was as if the states had raised a clenched fist at the court, 
commanding: “Don’t you do that again!” In North Caro¬ 
lina, Davie agreed with Iredell, and the Republicans, now 
backed by these, took strong ground, and Iredell’s dissenting 
opinion became the very foundation stone of the states’ rights 
doctrine. The states had every attribute of sovereignty not 
specifically delegated to the common government which the 
states had established between themselves, and among the 
powers delegated there was no mention of the coercion of 
a state. The Republicans were successful at the election; 


Judge 

Marshall 


The Consti¬ 
tution 
amended 



144 


THE NEW CAPITAL 


1794 


Raleigh 


Bloodworth 

Senator 


indeed so successful that only one Federal, Grove of 
Fayetteville, was elected a representative in Congress. 

The first Assembly at Raleigh 

At last, on December 30, 1794, the State House at Raleigh 
being then sufficiently complete, the Assembly met in the 
permanent capital of the State. The State House, de¬ 
scribed as an ugly pile of brick and wood, without porch 
or ornament, was built by Rhodes Atkins. The plan was 
similar to that of the later edifice. But while there were 
in the building rooms for the State officers, there were no 
residences for the Governor and other State officers to 
occupy. As yet there was no town, but a tavern or two 
had been erected, and necessarily the members had to come 
from their homes either on horseback or in private con¬ 
veyances ; theretofore, the Assembly had convened in towns 
with some accommodations, and this must have been a very 
uncomfortable experience. At this first memorable occu¬ 
pancy of the Capitol, 1794, Governor Spaight was re¬ 
elected, and Lenoir as Speaker of the Senate; but Timothy 
Bloodworth, the positive Republican, was chosen by the 
House. The Legislature ratified the proposed amendment 
to the Constitution, which later became the Eleventh 
Amendment. Then when the election was held for United 
States Senator, to succeed Hawkins, Bloodworth was chosen 
by a single vote over Alfred Moore. They were both 
from the Cape Fear country; Moore distinguished in every 
walk in life, and Bloodworth, although known as the black¬ 
smith politician, had the elements of a fine manhood in 
him and drew the Republicans around him. 

Importation of slaves restricted 

And at this Assembly a noteworthy step was taken in 
regard to slavery. In 1774 the people of Rowan had re¬ 
solved against the African slave trade, and the first Pro¬ 
vincial Congress, held that year, had agreed that “we will 




The First Capitol. Completed 1794; destroyed by fire June 21, 1831 
Insert—Canova’s statue of Washington 



















































































































' 

























RESTRICTIONS ON SLAVE IMPORTATION 


145 


not import any slave or purchase any slave brought into 
this province by others after the first day of November 
next.” But that resolution seems to have fallen into in¬ 
nocuous desuetude, for in 1786 duties were levied on im¬ 
ported slaves brought in from Africa; and those brought in 
from the Northern States where emancipation was in prog¬ 
ress were to be returned. Four years later the duties on 
the importation of slaves were repealed; but slaves brought 
in from the Northern States were still to be returned. Now, 
at this first session at Raleigh, a very stringent act was 
passed prohibiting any one from bringing into this State 
any slave or indentured servant of color; unless the person 
should take an oath that he was coming into the State to 
settle and be a citizen, and that he was not bringing the 
servant of color into the State'for sale. And at this same 
session, owners were prohibited from allowing slaves to 
have their own time, and meetings of negroes were pro¬ 
hibited and greater supervision of them was required by pa¬ 
trolmen ; and there was another act passed requiring the jury 
and court on the trial of a slave to render verdict and sen¬ 
tence agreeably to the laws of the country. There was 
evidently, however, apprehension in regard to the negroes, 
for at the next session, it was forbidden for any owner 
coming to settle to bring with him from the southern islands 
any negroes over the age of fifteen; and if any free person 
of color should come into the State, he was required to 
give bond for his good behavior. 

The improvement of local conditions was also in the 
minds of the Assemblymen, and an act was passed author¬ 
izing the county courts to establish fairs in their counties 
‘‘so as to afford an opportunity and give encouragement to 
industry by collecting the inhabitants for the purpose of 
exchanging, bartering and selling all such articles as they 
wish to dispose of.” 


1794 


Local fairs 


10 



146 


THE NEW CAPITAL 


Episcopal 

church 


In 1794 the Protestant Episcopal Church was organized 
in the State. On the 5th of June, 1789, two clergymen, 
Rev. Charles Pettigrew and Rev. Janies L. Wilson, and 
two laymen met at Tarboro, and acceded to the Constitution 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church as adopted at Philadel¬ 
phia in that year. It was proposed to hold a second con¬ 
vention that November, but the effort failed, and in No¬ 
vember, 1790, the next convention was held, there being 
four clergymen and four laymen present. There was no 
other convention held until November, 1793, when there 
were only three clergymen and three laymen in attendance. 
In May, 1794, there were eight members in the State in¬ 
cluding Mr. Miller, who had taken orders as a Lutheran 
minister, but only four of them and only four of the laity 
attended the convention which met at Tarboro. Rev. 
Charles Pettigrew was chosen Bishop; but he never went 
to be ordained. In none of these conventions did the 
southern half of the State have any representative. Craven, 
Martin, Edgecombe, Pitt, Granville, Hertford and North¬ 
ampton and “near the Yadkin,” were the residences of 
the ministers. 

Jay’s treaty 

There were many matters in controversy between the 
United States and Great Britain and Great Britain had been 
slow to give them consideration, but at length, in 1794, con¬ 
ditions seemed to be propitious, and Washington appointed 
Chief Justice Jay as Envoy Extraordinary for the purpose 
of concluding a treaty. Although perhaps not entirely sat¬ 
isfactory to Washington, he approved the treaty and it 
was ratified. In August, 1795, Sam Johnston wrote: “The 
stipulations restraining the vessels of the United States 
from carrying any molasses, sugar, coffee, or cotton either 
from the islands belonging to Great Britain or from the 



TREATY DENOUNCED 


147 


United States to any part of the world were highly excep¬ 
tionable; and that the British ought to have made provision 

for paying for the slaves they had taken from our citizens.” 

% 

The treaty was fiercely denounced by others, and Jay fell 
into public odium. The effect at the South was to strengthen 
the Republicans, and they again controlled the Assembly of 
this State. 



CHAPTER X 


1795 


Friction With France 

Ashe Governor.—Stone Judge.—Canals to be cut.—Changes in 
the law.—All children to inherit.—Matters of fact for the jury.— 
Alterations in court procedure.—Manumission limited.—The 
Quakers and slavery.—Joshua Evans.—Life at Raleigh.—The 
emctions.—Public attitude towards France and Great Britain.— 
Adams President.—The land frauds.—Plot to burn State House. 
—France hostile.—Collisions.—Washington at head of army.— 
Patriotism prevails.—The pestilence.—War imminent.—Davie 
Governor.—Franklin Senator.—The Kentucky resolutions.— 
Taylor Judge.—The Court of Patents.—Moore Judge.—Davie’s 
vigor.—Preparations.—Willis and Locke.—Jefferson’s “Scission.” 
—Davie goes to France.—Leaves messages for the Assembly.— 
Joseph Gales establishes the Register .—Democracy prevails.— 
Williams Governor. — Black gowns and court formalities aban¬ 
doned.—The Court of Conference.—Death of Washington.— 
Washington, Ashe and Greene counties. 

Ashe Governor 

When the Assembly convened it at once chose for Gov¬ 
ernor Ashe of New Hanover, who some twelve days later 
appeared and took the oath of office. Fike Spaight, he was 
a native of the State. He had been on the bench some 
eighteen years, but while thus removed from political ac¬ 
tion, he was well known to have ever been a stalwart Anti- 
Federalist. David Stone of Bertie succeeded him on the 
bench. Stone was but twenty-five years of age and had 
been at the bar only five years. A graduate of Princeton, 
and a man of fine intelligence and attainments, he had 
studied law under Davie and was much in sympathy with 
the high ideals of that elegant gentleman. But his political 
association was with the Anti-Federals. 

Governor Ashe quickly sent a message to the Assembly in 
which he referred to the action of that body requiring State 
officers to reside in Raleigh six months during the year, 
saying that he proposed to do that; but suggested that a 
Governor whose term was only one year could not build a 
house to live in only for six months. Thereupon the Legis- 


REFORMS IN JUDICIARY 


149 


lature directed that a house should be provided for the Gov¬ 
ernor by the Treasurer, either by leasing or by building. 

As the previous Legislature had sought to provide do¬ 
mestic industries by establishing county fairs, so this one 
hoped to advance the general welfare by stimulating the 
cutting of canals. It was proposed that persons should 
drain their low lands by ditches or canals passing through 
the lands of others, and that “whereas it has been demon¬ 
strated by the experience of the most improved and well 
cultivated countries the opening of communications by 
cutting canals has been productive of great wealth and 
commerce/’ the Legislature authorized the formation of 
companies to cut canals for transportation and to drain 
swamps. 

The Assembly, despite the political conditions, addressed 
itself to some amendment of the law. In 1784 entails had 
been abolished, but preference had been given to the males 
in exclusion of the females: now all distinctions among 
children were removed and sisters were put on a level with 
their brothers. And further curing some of the defects of 
administration, the judges were forbidden, in charging the 
jury, to express any opinion as to whether a fact was fully 
or sufficiently proved, “such matter being the true office 
and province of the jury,” and two peremptory challenges 
were allowed to each side in every case. Indeed, during 
Governor Ashe’s term, court procedure was much over¬ 
hauled ; and there were enactments, regulating the method 
of procedure by grand juries; of issuing process; author¬ 
izing executors and administrators in certain cases to 
convey land, and otherwise ordaining beneficial alterations 
in court matters. 

There was another change in the law brought about by 
apprehensions lest the free negroes might induce the blacks 
to give trouble. Slaves were no longer to be emancipated, 
except for meritorious services, so adjudged and allowed 
bv the countv courts. 


Pi'ogressive 

measures 


Canals 


All children 
to inherit 


Court pro¬ 
cedure 




FRICTION WITH FRANCE 


150 


The Quakers* attitude toward slavery 

Indeed, African slavery now began to give concern. The 
institution was fixed; property in slaves had for generations 
been an inherited right, and in addition to the private rights, 
there were involved public considerations of great interest, 
for free negroes were a menace. About the time of the 
Revolution the Quakers in North Carolina, as well as some 
of the Methodists, had begun to consider the subject of 
slavery. Mr. Asbury was much in favor of having the 
slaves emancipated, and some of the Quakers were of the 
same mind. In 1772 the Quakers had addressed the As¬ 
sembly against the importation of slaves, and ten years 
later they had made progress ‘‘in clearing the Society of 

WGGKS• 

Southern slavery,” and in securing the rights of the manumitted. 

Quakers . 

In 1795, the Legislature having passed an act requiring 
all free negroes to give bond for good behavior, the next 
“Yearly Meeting” drew a petition urging the Assembly to 
allow owners to emancipate their slaves and asking that 
those emancipated should be protected as freemen, for it 

1790 was asserted that some negroes manumitted had been seized 

and sold into slavery. Joshua Evans, a traveling Quaker 
preacher, then on his way to Georgia, happened to be in 
Raleigh when this petition was presented to the Assembly. 
At that time the little hamlet was barely three years old. 

At Raleigh A tavern had been erected in the forest and a few resi¬ 
dences, where some of the members found board. At the 
tavern there were about “forty men of note.” Notwith¬ 
standing Evans was urging abolition of slavery, the mem¬ 
bers received him kindly. “A number of them invited me 
freely to come into their rooms and sit with them, and that 
they should be pleased if I would do so; all this furnishing 
me with opportunities to touch on their cruel laws and the 
hardships to which the poor blacks were subjected in that 
government. Many of them kindly invited me to come and 
see them if I should come near their dwellings.” And 



DIFFERENT COLOR IN POLITICS 


151 


when he came to settle, the tavern keeper would take no 
pay for his board. These details indicate no resentment at 
his views. But there were serious objections to acting fa¬ 
vorably on the petition. The agitation by the Quakers in 
Albemarle had already led to disastrous results. Negroes 
had been led to. expect liberation. The idea of emancipa- Evi1 results 
tion was openly held out to them. Their minds were alien¬ 
ated from service. Runaways were protected, harbored and 
encouraged. “Arsons are committed.” The grand jury 
at Edenton, therefore, made a presentment of the Quakers 
in Eastern North Carolina “as the authors of the common 
mischief in their quarter,” and based on the allegations 
above quoted. So at the following session, the Assembly 
passed an even more stringent law against emancipation. 

But, ignoring the law, the Quakers persisted in urging in- 


Weeks: 
Southern 


Qiiskcrs, 

dividuals to set their slaves free, merely by a release of 221, 222 
ownership, and the Legislature found it necessary to re¬ 
quire that some provision should be made for old slaves 
that were not cared for. Society hqd to be protected. 


The election 

Washington’s term was now expiring and John Adams, 
the Vice-President, desired to succeed him. Jefferson, who 
had retired from the Cabinet in 1793, was at the head of the 
opposition. Massachusetts and Virginia were once more 
the contestants, and sectional bitterness was fed by personal 
and political antagonisms. Four years earlier, the division 
of the people was in some measure based on apprehensions 
regarding the form and powers of the government. Now 
a different color was given to public matters. France and 
Great Britain had their respective friends, and each of 
these powers was seeking to exert an influence in the 
United States. There was much sympathy for France; and 
Jefferson was regarded as the especial friend of the French 
Republic; while the Paris horrors easily led the Federalists 
to stigmatize the opponents of Adams as Jacobins. Davie, 


1796 



152 


FRICTION WITH FRANCE 


17J6 


November, 

1797 


Plot to burn 
Capitol 


writing to Iredell in November, said: “Uncommon pains 
have been taken by the Jacobin party to insure the election 
of Jefferson”; but at the north these efforts were without 
avail. Judge Patterson of the Supreme Court wrote De¬ 
cember i: “The contest will be severe. From New Jersey 
to New Hampshire, the votes, being 58, will be for Mr. 
Adams.” And so it happened, except Pennsylvania the 
North was solid for Adams. Maryland likewise gave 
Adams 7 votes. Pennsylvania went with the South for 
Jefferson. In North Carolina one district was carried by 
Adams, and Adams was elected by a single vote above the 
requisite majority. The Congressional delegation remained 
Republican with the exception of Grove. The Assembly 
was Anti-Federal and chose the same Speaker as its pred¬ 
ecessor. 

The land frauds 

In 1797 Governor Ashe discovered improprieties in is¬ 
suing grants and he Galled the matter to the attention of 
the Council of State; but it was not at first supposed that 
there were any frauds, for the officers were of the highest 
reputation. However, the Legislature, when it met in No¬ 
vember, appointed a Board of Inquiry. There was a land 
office at Nashville, Tennessee, under Major John Arm¬ 
strong. In the Raleigh office, William Tyrrell, the clerk, 
would issue grants calling for certain corners and covering 
a specified acreage, while the lines when run would em¬ 
brace from ten to a hundred times as many acres as men¬ 
tioned; and there were other fraudulent methods devised. 
When these discoveries were made, Tyrrell fled. For safe 
keeping the books containing those entries were moved into 
the Comptroller’s office. In the succeeding April, 1798, 
Judge Tatum and John McNairey at Nashville dispatched 
a messenger to Governor Ashe conveying information of a 
plot to carry off these books, and to burn the State House. 
It seems that the plot was hatched by Glasgow, the Secre- 



GLASGOW A FALLEN ANGEL 


153 


tary of State. The Governor in calling the Council to¬ 
gether wrote: “An angel has fallen,” so astonished was he 
that Glasgow should be involved. James Glasgow of Dobbs 
County had been an early patriot, and had been Secretary of 
State for twenty years; and for years been Deputy Grand 
Master of the Masonic order, which embraced in its mem¬ 
bership nearly every man of standing in the State. When 
the Council met, in his written statement the Governor said: 
“The scheme was concerted in the house of a person who 
seems to be in the character of a fallen angel.” The effort 
to carry off the papers was frustrated, and that to burn the 
State House failed through the measures taken by the 
Governor. 

France hostile 

While these startling incidents were claiming attention, 
some notable changes occurred. Judge Stone retired from 
the bench and sought political honors. He announced him¬ 
self for Congress in the Albemarle district and, although 
of Anti-Federal association, was warmly supported by the 
leading Federalists. Indeed, in the progress of unexpected 
events, the old party lines were much broken down. The 
President could not close his eyes to the audacity of the 
French government, then in the throes of revolution and 
under the Directory, nor could he brook their insults. He 
took measures looking to war. Indeed, actual hostilities 
had begun on the ocean and collisions had occurred. Con¬ 
gress at once strengthened the naval force, provided for the 
appointment of a Secretary of Navy, and authorized our 
merchantmen to arm. Presently we had captured many 
French ships and France was despoiling our commerce. 
Congress likewise provided for a provisional army of regu¬ 
lars, and Washington was called from his retirement to 
the command. In July, 1798, Davie was appointed by the 
President Brigadier General in this new army, to command 
the North Carolina contingent. No longer could there be 


1798 


War 

imminent 


Secretary of 
the Navy 


Washington 
in command 

Davie, 

Brigadier 

Genera] 



154 


FRICTION WITH FRANCE 


Alien and 
sedition law 


November, 

1798 


Iredell, II, 

536-538 


The yellow 
fever 


any divisions among patriots. And Congress in the furore 
of the occasion passed bills known as the Alien and Sedi¬ 
tion Laws, authorizing the President to deport aliens, and 
to imprison any one who defamed the government, Congress 
or the President. In the meanwhile, Talleyrand, the French 
Premier, had proceeded so far as to have the American 
commissioners in France informed that before they would 
be heard they must pay 1,200,000 francs; and when the 
commissioners had returned, the sentiment “Millions for 
defense, not one cent for tribute,” thoroughly permeated the 
hearts of the people. Such was the inflamed condition 
and temper of the times during the summer and fall of 
1798. 

In the State 

At the Congressional election the Federals carried four 
districts; and while there was no particular change in the 
personnel of the Assembly, the majority was in line with 
the administration. Indeed when in November, Sam John¬ 
ston, now again in the Senate, came to Raleigh, he wrote 
home: “Davie is talked of for Governor, and will meet 
with no opposition. I was much surprised to find even 
Governor Ashe so perfectly anti-Gallican; but it is the 
fashion, and no one pretends to be otherwise.” 

The change was quickly heralded abroad. The good 
news flew. Charles Lee in Virginia wrote: “The change 
in North Carolina is most pleasing,” and William Rawle, 
the great Philadelphia lawyer, wrote to Iredell: “Your ac¬ 
count of the election is a consolation in the midst of our 
misfortunes.” Philadelphia was indeed in the midst of 
misfortune. The yellow fever had stricken the city heavier 
than ever before. It was more malignant than in 1793. 
The only safety was in flight. Charles Lee wrote: “The 
pestilence now rages with increased fatality. In New York 
City it is terrible also. I think Congress ought not to hold 
its session in Philadelphia next winter.” Nor was the pesti- 




FRANKLIN SUCCEEDS MARTIN 


155 


lence confined to those cities. It invaded every seaport and 
North Carolina did not escape. It struck Wilmington and 
other seaboard towns disastrously. 

In the Assembly 

When the Assembly met, the Senate was strongly under 
Federal influence; the House was not so. There was, how¬ 
ever, no change made in the speakers of the houses. Gov¬ 
ernor Ashe’s term was now expiring, and war was flagrant; 
so Davie, the preeminent soldier of the day, and eminent 
for his talents and character, was called to the helm. But 
already there was clamor against the Alien and Sedition 
Acts, which Jefferson with great astuteness intensified, pro¬ 
curing the Legislature of Kentucky to adopt resolutions that 
challenged the attention of the country. Martin had voted 
for those acts in Congress, and had become “wonderfully 
Federal,” so the Republican leaders rallied all their strength 
and defeated him. He was replaced by Jesse Franklin of 
Surry, not so scholarly as Martin, not so eloquent as many 
others, but of solid worth, typifying the best North Caro¬ 
lina characteristics—integrity and honesty of purpose, 
united with intelligence, broad views and patriotism. He 
was a staunch Republican. The Kentucky resolutions were 
communicated to the House by Governor Davie. The 
House received them and sent them to the Senate. The 
Senate heard them read “with great impatience,” and “or¬ 
dered them to lie on the table.” “I believe,” wrote Gov¬ 
ernor Johnston, “in the temper they were in they might 
easily have been prevailed on to have thrown them into the 
fire, which was proposed in whispers by several near us.” 
Then the House, by a respectable majority, adopted an 
address to the President which the Senate passed unani¬ 
mously, not so high in praise “of his great abilities and in¬ 
tegrity” as Johnston wished. This was, however, followed 
by a resolve by the House urging the delegation in Con- 


Davie 


Martin de¬ 
feated 


Franklin 

Senator 


Kentucky 

resolutions 


Iredell, II, 
542 




156 


FRICTION WITH FRANCE 


Iredell, II, 
542 


House 
Journal, 75, 
77 


Judge 

Taylor 


Davie and 
Moore 


gress to seek to repeal the Alien and Sedition Acts, which 
was rejected by the Senate 31 to 8; but notwithstanding 
the Senate would not concur, the House adopted the re¬ 
solves and ordered them forwarded to the Senators and 
Representatives in Congress. The Republicans while rea 1 
sonably complacent would not utterly abdicate their 
principles. 

Judge Williams’s health had now become such that he 
could not attend his courts and, as he did not resign, the 
Assembly provided for an additional judge, John Louis 
Taylor being elected to the bench. Thus was introduced 
into our judiciary one of its chiefest ornaments. Taylor 
was born in London, of Irish parentage, and while a lad 
of ten years his brother brought him to New Bern. After 
graduating at William and Mary College, he had studied 
law and settled at Fayetteville. He soon married a sister 
of William Gaston, and between these two distinguished 
men there existed the most affectionate intercourse. 

Court of Patents 

Because of the discovery of the land frauds, a commis¬ 
sion was appointed to investigate all the facts, and a Court 
of Patents was established with power to annul fraudulent 
grants. To succeed Glasgow, William White, a nephew of 
Governor Caswell, was elected Secretary of State, and a 
bond of ten thousand pounds was required for that office. 
Governor Sam Johnston had in view to create a court of ap¬ 
peals, but he was then ahead of the times, and he failed in 
his purpose. To succeed Judge Stone, elected to Congress, 
Alfred Moore was chosen to the bench. 

It was a notable circumstance that Davie and Moore were 
now simultaneously made recipients of public favor. They 
were highly distinguished among the illustrious characters 
of that period. Indeed one of their contemporaries re¬ 
corded that “they shone as brilliant meteors in the firma- 



BRIGHT LEGAL LIGHTS 


15 7 


liient.” Chief Justice Taylor ascribed to Moore “a pro¬ 
found knowledge of the law, and when Attorney-General, he 
had performed his onerous duties with vigilance and zeal; 
but his energy was seasoned with humanity, leaving the in¬ 
nocent nothing to fear, and the guilty but little to hope.” 
However, on the bench, Moore did not give entire satisfac¬ 
tion. He was captious and disregarded precedents. Per¬ 
haps he saw deeper than some of his predecessors or 
thought that he was better fitted to make precedents than 
they were. But he was not to remain long as a state judge 
for on the death of Judge Iredell he was transferred to the 
U. S. Supreme Court. 

War preparation 

Davie, entering on the office of Governor December 7, 
1798, addressed himself to his duties with vigor and intel¬ 
ligence. His first attention was given to military prepara¬ 
tion. The organization of the militia was perfected and he 
had the sea coast fortifications examined with a view to de¬ 
fense. General Brown of the Cape Fear district reported 
that in 1794, Mr. Martignor had been sent by the Federal 
Government to construct a fort at Smithville, and he had 
demolished the old fort Johnston and had replaced it by 
a heavy sand battery. General Brown had Major McRee 
now to submit a new plan of defense. Likewise reports 
were made about Ocracoke. Davie represented to the Fed¬ 
eral Government that the South had no arms nor ammu¬ 
nition and he was active in preparation. But not neglect¬ 
ful of civil affairs, he was earnest in his purpose to have 
Glasgow tried and he was interested in the progress of the 
work of establishing the boundary between the State and 
Tennessee. While assiduously engaged in these duties, the 
President appointed him one of a new commission he pro¬ 
posed to send to France, and Davie accepted the appoint¬ 
ment ; but nevertheless he continued to press forward the 
business of his office. 


1799 


Davie, Com¬ 
missioner to 
France 



FRICTION WITH FRANCE 



Iredell, II, 
577 


Jefferson’s 
Correspond¬ 
ence, IV, 
247 


Secession 


1799 


The Legislature, anxious to remedy the wrongs done 
by the frauds of its officers in Tennessee, directed Governor 
Davie to obtain the papers of the office of Martin Arm¬ 
strong, then in the possession of Tennessee, and under that 
authority Governor Davie on the first of March, 1799, 
commissioned Gen. John Willis of Robeson County and 
Francis Locke of Salisbury to go to Tennessee and if pos¬ 
sible obtain the papers for the use of the State. Willis and 
Locke were well qualified for the mission. The former was 
a gentleman of the highest respectability and character and a 
lawyer of fine attainments. The latter was of equal stand¬ 
ing in the State. It, however, does not appear that their 
mission availed. 

It was not until August that the commission made its re¬ 
port on the Glasgow frauds and the Court of Patents did 
not meet at all. While these afifairs were claiming Davie’s 
attention, he was concerned at learning that in Virginia 
there was such dissatisfaction that some of the leaders 
there were talking of “seceding from the Union,” while 
others boldly asserted the policy and practicability of “sev¬ 
ering the Union,” alleging that Pennsylvania would join 
them, that Maryland would be compelled to; that the sub¬ 
mission and assistance of North Carolina was counted on 
as a matter of course. Indeed, the subject was put up to 
Jefferson, who called it “Scission,” but while he expressly 
affirmed the right to secede, he did not deem it expedient. 


Davie goes abroad 

In the meantime, the President deemed that conditions 
had so far improved that it was proper and expedient for 
the commission he had appointed to depart to France. It 
was necessary for Davie to leave the State. The Assembly 
had directed that the Governor should keep his office open 
at Raleigh the entire year; and if he himself were going 
to be absent that he should so. advertise in a newspaper, but 
his office should be kept open by his private secretary. 




FIRST PRINTING PRESS IN RALEIGH 


159 


Davie seems to have arranged his official matters in con¬ 
formity with these directions. It does not appear that he 
resigned; nor did General Smith, the Speaker of the Sen 
ate, become Governor in his absence. On the contrary he 
prepared seven separate messages or communications for 
the Assembly, on various subjects, which he delivered to his 
private secretary to be presented when it should convene. 
All of these messages but one were dated September 10; 
the other, dated November 10, advised the Legislature of 
his leaving the State on the duties assigned him by the 
President. On September 22 he left Halifax, and on No¬ 
vember 3 sailed from Newport, Rhode Island. There was 
no official notice taken of his absence from his office. His 
communications were received and treated as if he were 
present. 

Joseph Gales 

During the year, Raleigh received as a citizen its first 
editor and saw established its first printing press. Joseph 
Gales had been an editor, publisher and book seller at 
Sheffield, England, along with Montgomery, afterwards 
known as the poet. In England, as one of the effects of 
the French Revolution, democratic societies had sprung up 
in many of the counties, and Gales was in sympathy with 
them. For some cause, an order was issued for the ar¬ 
rest of Gales, and being advised of it, at his wife’s entreaty 
he fled to Holland, where his wife joined him, and a year 
later they came to Philadelphia, reaching there in 1795. 
Buying a newspaper in Philadelphia, and being able to re¬ 
port the proceedings in Congress in shorthand, he soon 
took high rank as a newspaper man. His sympathies were 
with the Anti-Federals or the Republicans, as Jefferson 
called those who cooperated with him. Because of the 
yellow fever that had appeared in consecutive years at Phil¬ 
adelphia, Gales determined to seek another location and 
some of the North Carolina delegation prevailed on him 


1799 



i6o 


FRICTION WITH FRANCE 


Williams, 

Governor 


Nov., 1799 


Black gowns 
abandoned 


One judge 
to hold court 


Acts 1799, 
ch. 4 


to locate at Raleigh. Here in 1799 he began the publica¬ 
tion of the Register which his fine abilities soon made the 
leading paper in the State, greatly strengthening his party 
and giving it a more democratic tone. But Hodge, whose 
office was at Fayetteville, issued a paper dated Raleigh, 
shortly before the appearance of the Register. 

Democracy prevails 

When the Assembly met the war feeling aroused by 
France had subsided and the discontent over the Alien and 
Sedition Acts had become intensified by the arrest of editors 
and others disagreeable to the President. The tide was 
running against Federalism. The same speakers were 
chosen and Benjamin Williams, defeated by Davie the year 
before, was elected Governor. Mr. Willianis was a large 
and successful planter of Moore County and closely con¬ 
nected with some of the leading families of the eastern 
counties. He was a man of fine intelligence and stood 
among the first of the progressive agriculturists of the 
State. The Legislature, now to conform to a democratic 
sentiment, abolished the practice of having sheriffs to pre¬ 
cede the judges to and from the courthouse with wands, 
and having the doorkeeper to precede the speakers with 
maces, and the practice these officials had to array them¬ 
selves in black gowns was likewise abandoned. These an¬ 
cient forms were repugnant to the new democratic 
sentiment. 

To remedy some obvious inconveniences, there being four 
judges, the State was now divided into four ridings and one 
judge was allowed to hold a Superior Court in each riding; 
but there was to be rotation. And another interesting 
change was made in the judicial department that was some¬ 
what in line with Governor Johnston’s proposition to estab¬ 
lish a court of appeals. The judges were to meet at 
Raleioh in Tune and December and determine any questions 
of law not determined in the circuit. They were to discuss 




NEW COUNTIES ERECTED 


161 


these points of law among themselves, but the practice did 
not obtain of having attorneys to argue before them. By 
the same act, the judges were to hold a court to try those 
persons indicted for land frauds. However, the operation 
of this act was limited to two years. 

Death of Washington 

On December 14, at Mount Vernon, the great Washing¬ 
ton went to his reward. There was a universal manifesta¬ 
tion of sorrow. The Legislature being in session immedi¬ 
ately named a county in his remembrance; but in the same 
bill a new county was erected and named for one of the 
principal Republican leaders, Governor Sam Ashe. At the 
same time the name of Glasgow was expunged from the list 
of counties, and Greene was substituted in honor of General 
Greene. At this session, further to show affection for 
Washington, Governor Williams was directed to take steps 
to procure two full length portraits of him who “was first 
in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his country¬ 
men.” Governor Williams ascertained through Represent¬ 
ative Grove that Gilbert Stuart would paint a portrait of 
Washington for $600 and the frame would cost $200. 
Such a portrait was procured and still adorns the Hall of 
Representatives, but it was painted by Sully. 


The judges 
to confer 


11 



CHAPTER XI 


The New Century 

Social conditions.—Caldwell at the University.—Smith’s dona¬ 
tion.—The academies and schools.—Medical Society.—Agricul¬ 
tural.—The State buys the cotton gin right.—Transportation.— 
River improvements.—Horse racing.—Halifax cotton factory.— 
Willis’s mail to Tennessee.—Wolves.—Women’s work.—The 
religious situation.—Infidelity.—Asbury’s journeys.—The revival. 
—The great meetings.—Elder Burkett.—The jerks.—State affairs. 
—Death of Iredell.—Moore succeeds him.—Johnston.—Glas¬ 
gow’s trial.—Haywood.—The newspapers.—Hall replaces Judge 
Williams.—Stone Senator.—The electoral college.—Jefferson 
President. 


1800 

Williams 

Governor 


Conditions in 1800 

The new century opened with the public mind still agi¬ 
tated because of recent events. Glasgow had not been 
brought to trial. A special court had been created to hear 
the case. The people were mourning for Washington. Davie 
had not yet reached Paris, but the expectation of peace 
that had led to the sending of the commission had given 
confidence that there would be no war; and the Alien and 
Sedition Acts were being denounced. In the State the 
people were returning to the Republican party. 

The white population had increased in the decade 18 
per cent; the free blacks had increased to 7,000, being about 
40 per cent, while the slaves increased 33 per cent. The 
total population was now 468,103. 


Education 

There had in recent years been more attention given to 
education. Joseph Caldwell, a graduate of Princeton, had 
in 1796 been called to the University. Gen. Benj. Smith 
had given to this institution 20,000 acres of Tennessee lands, 
and others had made liberal donations in cash, while 
Charles Gerrard added in his will a bequest of a valuable 
tract of 2,560 acres, and the faculty and student body, hav- 



Salem Academy. Opened in 1772; corner stone of this building laid in 1803 









NOTABLE ACADEMIES 



ing gone through a season of turmoil, were both now on a 
secure foundation. 

Acts had been passed incorporating academies at Eden- 
ton, Kinston, New Bern, Warrenton, Greenville, Wilming¬ 
ton, in Franklin, in Richmond, Duplin, Currituck, two in 
Anson, Onslow, Tarboro, Lumberton, Murfreesboro, 
in Bladen, Randolph, Montgomery, at Salisbury, Smithville, 
Guilford, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Rockingham and Hyco. 
There were besides numerous private schools taught by the 
Presbyterian ministers and others throughout the State; 
some being of particular merit. In Wilkes there was main¬ 
tained for thirty years a school, which was ever mentioned 
for high excellence, and at Wilmington where the noted 
Rev. Robert Tate had opened a classical school in 1760, Rev. 
William Bingham in 1785 began his great career as a 
teacher. About 1800 the Innes Academy was built, the 
first teacher being Dr. Hailing, who later was succeeded 
by John Rogers, earlier a midshipman in the naval service, 
and later, when established at Hillsboro, a doctor of medi¬ 
cine, his degree being obtained at Baltimore. The teacher 
at New Bern for twenty years was Thomas P. Irving, a 
graduate of Princeton. 

Williamsboro, the home of Judge John Williams, a jurist 
whose superior merit was early recognized, was “a neigh¬ 
borhood of cultured people.” John Hicks was the teacher 
there. 

At Warrenton there was a fine academy for at least fif¬ 
teen years under the care of Marcus George, a graduate 
of Trinity College, Dublin, and then under others of supe¬ 
rior merit, while a little later '‘The Mordecai Female Sem¬ 
inary” became an institution of great value. And the Salem 
Female Academy likewise attracted pupils from various 
parts of the State, every year becoming more and more 
highlv esteemed. The Caswell Academy was taught by 
Rev. Hugh Shaw, with Bartlett Yancey as his assistant: 


Cape Fear 

Chronicles, 

665 


Coon: 

Schools alnd 
Academies. 
II, 17f. 


Smith: Hist. 
Ed., p. 118 



164 


THE NEW CENTURY 


and the graduates of the University were now finding con¬ 
genial employment in teaching. 

Hall’s Clio Nursery and Academy of Science in Iredell 
County, for decades was the principal factor in the educa- 
N m c. h p E 38 tion of the western counties, eventually giving place to 
Davidson College. Hall’s English Grammar was largely 
used as a textbook in this and in the neighboring states. 

When the Raleigh Academy was started in 1802, German 
Guthrie, a teacher of note and experience was employed; 
and after some changes, in 1810, Rev. William McPheeters 
was called as pastor of the town and principal of the school; 
and he remained so for twenty years. That academy was 
“of two stories, 40x24 feet, twelve feet pitch, two doors 
and eight windows on the first floor; and painted inside and 
out." Five years later a new building for the female de¬ 
partment was erected. At Smithfield the academy was 
about the same size. That at Warrenton was larger; while 
those at Oxford and at Tarboro were still larger, two stories, 
60x24 feet. 

Agriculture 

The profession of the medical gentlemen was advanced by 
the incorporation of the State Medical Society, while in 
agriculture, there was displayed activity and progress. 
Among the leading planters were Benjamin Smith, for five 
terms Speaker of the Senate; Benjamin Williams, the Gov¬ 
ernor, and Gen. H. W. Harrington, of Richmond County, 
described by General Smith as the first farmer of the State, 
when asking him to furnish “among other seed Siberian, 
annual and perennial Vetch, Smyrna Wheat, Winter Oats 
and Spelts”; and they talked about “Timothy beans” and 
“Black-eyed peas,” and “some Superior”; and rice and 
cotton; and Smith asks Harrington to deliver him 2,000 
bushels of corn at Georgetown; and says: “Notwithstand¬ 
ing the great cry about cotton, I think the best farming we 



NEW DAY FOR COTTON 



can go in would be to sow a crop of wheat and, immedi¬ 
ately after it is off, put in corn.” However, he was planting 
cotton “in hills four feet equidistant,” and was solicitous 
about the gins. And certainly there were others, in 
Edgecombe particularly, but generally in every county, quite 
as progressive and eager for improvement. Indeed the 
State at once purchased from Eli Whitney and his partner 
the right to use, make and sell their patented cotton gin in 
the State, and the difficulty in preparing the staple for 
market now being removed a great demand sprang up for ^ state 
cotton and a new day for cotton and for the South was cot 

ushered in. 

Transportation 

Nor was the Assembly indifferent to transportation. The 
roads were bad, the farms isolated, and at least 7,000 hogs¬ 
heads of tobacco were hauled from the State to Petersburg . 
alone, while in the eastern counties, remarked General 
Washington, barrels of turpentine were rolled in the same 
style. But water transportation first claimed attention. 
“Thirty-four thousand people on the Catawba are now de¬ 
nied transportation facilities,” said the Assembly; and 
therefore provision was made for the improvement of that 
river. Likewise in 1796, bills were passed for improving 
the transportation of the Roanoke, for cutting a canal to pavement 
the river Pungo, near Plymouth; to improve the Cape Fear, 
the Deep and the Haw, to facilitate the navigation of the 
Yadkin and 'the Pee Dee, to improve the Tar, the Meherrin, 
the Hyco, and the Great Contentnea. Apparently the entire 
river system was calling for attention and public thought 
was aroused on the subject of water transportation; while 
the completion of the Dismal Swamp Canal was looked 
forward to with great interest. 



THE NEW CENTURY 


166 


Horse racing 

In these years there were also some choice spirits who 
were addicted to horseflesh. Fine stock was valued. Rac¬ 
ing was interesting. Betting was allowed. One of the 
fastest horses in the State, perhaps in any state, was jointly 
owned by a group of Cape Fear gentlemen and trained at 
Hyrneham, on Rocky Point, by DeKeyser, an Austrian 
officer; another was Hyder Ali, the patriot of India being 
such a favorite that Davie called a son after him, and Mr. 
Williams his great horse. At a later date, in 1823, the 
Edenton Gazette said: “We stated in our last as our belief 
that Betsy Richards, who beat Cock of the Rock with so 
much ease, was raised and owned by Colonel Johnson, of 
Virginia. This is not correct—Betsy Richards belongs to 
William Amis, Esq., who owns her dame and sire, the cele¬ 
brated Sir Archy. Flying Cinders, who beat in two heats, 
with great ease, the Long Island mare Slow and Easy, is an 
Archy from North Carolina but owned by Mr. William 
Wynne, of Virginia. So that it appears that Henry, Betsy 
Richards, John Richards and Flying Cinders, the best 
coursers of the day, are all North Carolina horses and not 
Virginia. (The breed of Virginia horses and Virginia 
presidents gave out at the same time.)” And under the 
heading, “Sports of the Turf,” the Post of May 5, 1823, 
had this item: “The Halifax (N. C.) races commenced on 
Wednesday 16, of last month. It is rumored, says the 
Edenton Gazette, that John Richards, four years old, a horse 
of great bottom, will be taken to the Long Island races, to 
commence in May.” In a suit brought by Williams against 
Stephen Cabarrus, who held stakes, $500, the race between 
Sentinel and Hyder Ali is well told. But while betting 
was allowed, the Legislature deemed it prudent to enact 
that no bet on a horse race should be valid unless in writ¬ 
ing, under seal, and with witnesses. And the Legislature 
further forbade all games of betting, faro, and billiards. 



MOVEMENT WESTWARD 


167 


But the Assembly was not averse to lotteries. Lotteries 
were authorized for schools and other purposes, and one 
for “The Halifax Cotton Manufactory,” which, if built, an¬ 
tedated all others in the State by a decade. 

Emigration 

There was some tendency to move to Tennessee, where 
many had lands doubtless granted for Revolutionary serv¬ 
ices. General Willis was thinking of moving. Similarly, a 
letter to him in 1800 reads: “I tell you I still am fully deter¬ 
mined to make an excursion next spring towards the 
Nachez and Mississippi, as I think it the duty of every man 
of family to endeavor to establish such settlement as will 
be of lasting advantage to his progeny and this part of the 
world.” About that time Willis established a mail line 
from Fayetteville to Tennessee. A license was issued by 
Duncan McRae, the United States Internal Revenue Col¬ 
lector, for nine dollars for “a four wheeled carriage called a 
coache, owned by General John Willis and having a top and 
on springs and to be drawn by four horses, for the con¬ 
veyance of more than one person, for the year ending 30th 
September, 1802.” This also carried the mail. Later 
Willis located in Tennessee. 

That the State was not entirely removed from its pris¬ 
tine wilderness is evidenced by the bills to destroy wolves 
and panthers in Onslow, Moore, Montgomery, Iredell, Ber¬ 
tie and in many other counties. In New Hanover the 
wolves were not unknown until the railroad was built many 
years later, and then they abandoned their ancestral homes. 
They evidently were distrustful of the engines breathing 
fire and smoke. 

Women’s work 

In their homes, while the men were busy with outdoor 
work, the women were likewise fully engaged. A record 
is to this effect: “I was born in Nixonton the 14th of 


Lotteries 


Mail coaches 


Wolves and 
panthers 




THE NEW CENTURY 


168 


March, 1789, one mile from Hall’s Creek; and in a little 
rise of ground from the bridge stood the big oak where 
the first settlers held the Assemblies. My mother had a 
great deal of spinning, warping, weaving and quilting to 
do, and clothes to make for the negroes. I commenced at 
five years old to help her. Quilting, I believe, was the first 
thing I commenced doing. After a while I could hand the 
threads to put in the stays to weave; and I learnt to sew 
on the coarse shirts.” Such was a part of the ordinary work 
in the homes in North Carolina. The spinning jenny and 
the hand loom were on every plantation and on many farms, 
making linen, woolen and cotton cloth, and the mistress had 
to have the clothes made for the family including the 
negroes. 

Tlie religious situation 

The condition of religion in the sparsely inhabited set¬ 
tlements was deplorable. Of people there were few, and 
besides these natural conditions a wave of infidelity had 
swept over the country and many of those who were leaders 
of thought had turned away from the Christian doctrine 
and had set up instead a rule of reason. It was somewhat, 
due to the French Revolution, but Paine’s writings were 
largely read, and Paine it was who had first stirred the 
people to stand for independence. “The whole subject of 
religion was investigated anew. The arguments against the 
Bible were set forth in formidable array: Paine’s Age of 
Reason passed from hand to hand, and the infidel produc¬ 
tions of France flooded the country: the strongest holds of 
religion were shaken; and in many places, the arguments 
for reason, as paramount to revelation, gained a temporary 
victory. It was while infidelity was striding throughout 
„ . , the land that Kerr, the first executive of the University, 

Sketches w ho had been a Presbyterian minister and had preached 

at Fayetteville for two years, became an infidel, and Holmes, 
his assistant, did the same and taught “there is no such 



PREVALENCE OF INFIDELITY 


169 


thing as virtue.” Kerr was dismissed in 1796, and Holmes 
three years later. Kerr subsequently taught school again 
at Fayetteville, and was appointed by Jefferson a judge in 
the Territory of Mississippi. Dr. Caldwell, the President 
of the University, is quoted as writing in 1797: “In North 
Carolina, particularly in that part that lies east of us, every 
one believes that the first step he ought to take to rise 
into respectability is to disavow, as often and as publicly 
as he can, all regard for the leading doctrines of the Scrip¬ 
tures.” While this is surely overdrawn, yet it gives ex¬ 
pression to the prevailing tone of society. In many minds 
reason had displaced confidence in revelation. It was so 
easy to disbelieve in company with others. This general 
condition is somewhat depicted in Mr. Asbury’s journal at 
this period. 

Glimpses of conditions 

Rev. Francis Asbury had for twenty years and more been 
traveling throughout the states as a Methodist preacher, 
but about the opening of the century was appointed a super¬ 
intendent with general oversight and authority, and later 
was made a bishop. He spent his life in visiting all the 
circuits from Maine, through Ohio and Kentucky and along 
the seaboard to Georgia. He passed through North Caro¬ 
lina more than a dozen times, and he and his companions 
did a great work in carrying Methodism into the remotest 
neighborhoods and supplying the needs of the religious life 
in many communities. 

The Church of England had ceased to be an organized 
influence; the Presbyterians occupied the central counties, 
interspersed with the Baptists, who branched out from the 
great central source on Sandy Creek where Elder Stearns 
had thoroughly established them; and on the waters of the 
Catawba likewise were German Lutherans. 



THE NEW CENTURY 


170 


N. C. Hist. 
Bap. Papers, 
II, No. 2 


Asbury 


In the eastern and northern counties while all denomina¬ 
tions were represented the Baptists were by far the most 
numerous. 

The Kehukee Association,, long established, extended 
from Currituck to the Haywood or Crocker meeting house 
near Warrenton. 

Of Bishop Asbury this should be remarked: he cared for 
the human soul whether in a black or white body; and his 
colaborers urged the emancipation of the negroes. Particu¬ 
larly was he interested in what had taken place in Fay¬ 
etteville. A negro, Evans, coming to Fayetteville, estab¬ 
lished a Methodist church in that town, at first attended only 
by negroes, then by the whites, who were attracted by his 
preaching. And similarly, later at Wilmington, a Metho¬ 
dist church was started by the negroes, and then attended 
by the whites. Wherever Asbury went he was heard by 
the negroes of the neighborhood. He records: 

Edenton, December, 1796. “I journeyed all through the 
damp weather, and reached Pettigrew’s about six o’clock. 
Here I received a letter from Mr. Wesley, in which he di¬ 
rects me to act as general assistant. I preached in Edenton 
to a gay, inattentive people. I was much pleased with Mr. 
Pettigrew: I heard him preach and received the Lord’s 
Supper at his hands.” 

Of New Bern he wrote: “This is a growing place. Our 
society here, of white and colored members, consists of one 
hundred, . . . should piety, health and trade attend 

this New Bern it will be a very capital place in half a cen¬ 
tury from this.” 

At Wilmington, he found: “This town has suffered by 
two dreadful fires; but the people are rebuilding swiftly. 
The people were very attentive.” On another occasion at 
Wilmington, Sunday: “The bell went round to give notice 
and I preached to a large congregation. When I had done, 
behold, F. Hill came into the room powdered off, with a 
number of fine ladies and gentlemen. I heard him out: I 



ASBURY’S OBSERVATIONS 


171 


verily believe his sermon was his own, it was so much like 
his conversation.” 

On February 26, 1800: “When we came into North Caro¬ 
lina, we found that on the Pee Dee, Yadkin and Deep rivers, 
the snow had fallen fifteen and eighteen inches deep and 
continued nearly a month on the ground, and had swelled 
the rivers and spoiled the public roads. 

“We had no small race through Chatham County; we 
were lost three times before we came to Clark’s ferry on 
Haw River, and had to send a boy a mile for the ferryman.” 

March 4: “A clear, but very cold day. We were treated 
with great respect at the University by the president, S Raleigh 
Caldwell, and the students, citizens and many of the country 
people.” 

Two days later: “We came to Raleigh, the seat of gov¬ 
ernment. I preached in the State House. Notwithstand¬ 
ing this day was very cold and snowy, we had many people 
to hear.” - - * - 

There was no Episcopal minister in that part of the State, 

Mr. Asbury narrates, for February 26, 1801, at Wilmington, 
he “preached for the first time in our house; we were Wllmin s ton 
crowded. One of the respectables came in the name of the 
respectables to request that I would preach in the ancient, 
venerable brick church. At four we had a large and decent 
congregation.” On a subsequent visit, he said: “We have 
878 Africans and a few whites in fellowship. . . The Asbury, in, 

Africans hire their own time of their masters, labor and 93 
grow wealthy; they have built houses on the church lots. I 
hope to be able to establish a school for their children.” 

Again writing in 1806: “We had about 1,500 hearers in 
our house of worship—66 by 33 feet, galleried all around. 

There may be five thousand souls in Wilmington, one-fourth 
of which number, it may be, were present.” 

Of New Bern, he said (1802) : “New Bern is a growing. New Bern 
trading town. There are seven hundred or a thousand 
houses already built, and the number is yearly increasing, 



172 


THE NEW CENTURY 


among which are some respectable brick edifices: the new 
courthouse, truly so, neat and elegant; another famous 
house, said to be designed for the Masonic and theatrical 
gentlemen; it might make a most excellent church. The 
population may amount to 3,500 or 4,000 souls.” 


The first 
camp meet¬ 
ing 


Foote’s 
Sketches, 
376, 382 


The revival 

But with the opening of the century a most remarkable 
revival began. It is said to have begun at a funeral, where 
spirituous liquors were freely offered along with provisions, 
as was the custom in those days. Rev. James McCready, 
being a young licentiate, was called on to ask a blessing on 
the refreshments, and he refused. His stand begat an in¬ 
terest, and his preaching attracted attention all through 
the Haw River country. Excitement began and spread 
throughout all that section. McCready moved to Kentucky 
and his ministrations there had a similar influence. At one 
of his meetings, in June, 1800, there was a wonderful ex¬ 
citement. “Multitudes were struck under awful conviction. 
Cries of the distressed filled the whole house.” From this 
place it spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and 
ultimately over the whole South and West. The accounts 
of these meetings are surprising, how the people were af¬ 
fected, physically as well as mentally. The excitement 
grew in North Carolina. In October, 1801, a great meeting 
was held at Hawfields, in Orange. It continued five days 
without intermission, religious exercises lasting all day and 
far into the night. This is regarded as the first camp meet¬ 
ing in North Carolina. They soon became common, log 
cabins being built at the places where they were to be held. 
At a meeting in March, 1802, in Iredell County besides 
riding carriages, there were 262 wagons on the ground. 
The services lasted five days and there were between 8,000 
and 10,000 people in attendance. There were four wor¬ 
shiping assemblies. There were present 14 Presbyterian 



RELIGIOUS MANIFESTATIONS 


173 


ministers, 3 Methodist, 2 Baptist, 1 Episcopalian, 1 Dutch 
Calvinist and 2 German Lutherans. 

In the northeast among the Baptists there was the same 
experience, Elder Burkett, the Baptist missionary, having re¬ 
turned from Kentucky and Tennessee. Thousands left their 
homes for days to attend camp meetings. At Murfrees¬ 
boro, four thousand stood out in the rain for hours, while 
Burkett addressed them. 

In the Cape Fear country it was the same. The inhab¬ 
itants poured out to the camp meetings. A wave of deep 
religious interest swept throughout the country and the peo¬ 
ple responded with amazing alacrity. Thousands congregated 
in camps where services were held morning, noon and night 
for days together. Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists 
and families long since not associated with any organization 
whatever flocked together and fell under the influence of 
the prevailing spirit. Many extravagances attended some of 
these meetings. The ecstasy of religious fervor knew no 
limits and its manifestations were often singular and start¬ 
ling as acts of devotion. 

The jerks 

In North Carolina the revival was not at first attended 
by bodily movements. But after some months these mani¬ 
festations appeared among the Presbyterians in the central 
section of the State. In a general way they were called the 
jerks, but they took many varying shapes. They spread west 
of the Yadkin and southward into South Carolina; but in 
these states they did not approach the excesses of Ohio and 
Kentucky. They were not so powerful in their operations in 
the eastern counties. Rev. Samuel McCorkle, writing Jan¬ 
uary 8, 1802, says of a meeting three days earlier, where 
there were some 2,000 people: “Just then rose a speaker 
to give a short parting exhortation, but wonderful to tell, 
as if by an electric shock, a large number in every direc¬ 
tion, men, women, children, white and black, fell and cried 


Moore: 
Pioneer 
Methodists, 
446 


Foote’s 

Sketches 

409 




174 


THE NEW CENTURY 


Foote’s 

Sketches, 

410 


for mercy; while others appeared, in every quarter, either 
praying for the fallen, or exhorting bystanders to repent 
and believe. This, to me perfectly new and sudden sight, I 
viewed with horror.” But Mr. McCorkle’s horror later 
vanished when he became accustomed to the jerks that 
prevailed at every meeting. One account of this singular 
exhibition is: “I saw numbers exercised in this way at a 
camp meeting held in Lincoln County. Sometimes their 
heads would be jerked backward and forward with such 
violence that it would cause them to utter involuntarily a 
sharp, quick sound similar to the yelp of a dog; and the hair 
of the women to crack like a whip. Sometimes their arms, 
with clenched fists, would be jerked in alternate directions 
with such force as seemed sufficient almost to separate them 
from the body. Sometimes all their limbs would be affected, 
and they would be thrown into almost every imaginable 
position, and it was as impossible to hold them as to hold 
a wild horse. When a woman was exercised in this way, 
other women would join hands around her and keep her 
within the circle they formed; but the men were left without 
constraint to jerk at large through the congregation, over 
benches, over logs and even over fences. I have seen 
persons exercised in such a way that they would go all over 
the floor with a quick, dancing motion, and with such rapid¬ 
ity that their feet would rattle upon the floor like drum¬ 
sticks.” One minister who years later was much venerated 
gave this personal experience: “After a prayer in the house, 
he walked out. He was seized in a most surprising manner. 
Suddenly he began leaping about, first forward, then side¬ 
ways, and sometimes standing still, would swing backward 
and forward, ‘see-saw fashion.’ This motion of the body 
was both involuntary and irresistible at the commencement; 
and afterwards there was scarcely a disposition to resist. 
The people in the house came running to his relief and 
carried him in their arms to the dwelling. The fit lasted 
about an hour, during which time, if the attendants let go 



EFFECTS OF REVIVAL 


175 


their hold, he would jerk about the room as he had done in 
the field.” He had several returns of the jerks, when in the 
pulpit, and when not. 

These bodily exercises prevailed for some years in all 
the meetings held in the central counties, but by degrees they 
lost their hold on the public mind as being a part of reli¬ 
gious experience, for persons who had no sense of religion 
were frequently subject to the same fits. And after a while 
the preachers not only discountenanced them, but censured 
them; and long before the devotion to religion ceased these 
bodily performances became confined to only a few neigh¬ 
borhoods in the State. 

Separated from its objectionable experiences the revival 
during these early years of the century was most salutary 
in its effects, reforming the life of the people, and instilling 
and emphasizing religious and moral principles, and promot¬ 
ing domestic happiness. 

State affairs 

Judge Iredell died on October 20, 1799, at his home in 
Edenton, just as he had completed his 49th year, still in the 
prime of his extraordinary powers and in the height of his 
great usefulness. He took rank among the very foremost 
of the illustrious men who have given character to North 
Carolina. His correspondence having been preserved and 
published by Griffith J. McRee, himself of distinguished 
attainments and abilities, has illuminated an interesting pe¬ 
riod of our history, while its excellence is highly creditable 
to the social conditions it portrays. To succeed him on the 
bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, Presi¬ 
dent Adams selected Judge Alfred Moore, who was nomi¬ 
nated, confirmed and appointed on December 10, 1799. 

Judge Moore’s resignation having created a vacancy after 
the Legislature had adjourned, Governor Williams, with the 
concurrence of his Council, tendered the position to Sam 
Johnston, and, in urging him to accept, dwelt on the creation 


Foote’s 

Sketches, 

411 


Death of 
Iredell 


Judge Sam 
Johnston 




176 


THE NEW CENTURY 


1800 


of the new court to be organized at Raleigh, which it was 
hoped might at length develop into a court of appeals such 
as Governor Johnston desired. “It may be the beginning,’’ 
said the Governor, “of a radical change in the judicial 
system.” 

Governor Johnston’s acceptance brought to the bench the 
most eminent citizen of the State, and a sound lawyer. 

The Glasgow trial 

The judges, among them John Haywood, who was es¬ 
teemed the greatest criminal lawyer of his time and was 
certainly very learned, were to hold the court for the trial 
of Glasgow, to which the people were looking forward with 
intense interest. They were to meet in June for the great 
trial. In May Judge Haywood held the Superior Court 
at Halifax and returned to his home in Franklin County. 
A few days later he was persuaded by a fee of $1,000 to 
resign and undertake Glasgow’s defense. In his resigna¬ 
tion he mentioned to the Governor that for two years it had 
been commonly understood that he must retire from the 
bench. He indicated that because of the inadequate com¬ 
pensation the step was necessary. The other judges held 
the court. Spruce McCay was the senior judge and pre¬ 
sided, his associates being Taylor and Johnston; a court of 
the highest merit, whose decisions while offering certain 
justice to the culprits would assuredly receive the assent 
of the State. And now all eyes were turned to the scene. 
Seldom has a trial so greatly absorbed public attention— 
the chief defendant was a public character whose long career 
had until this period been marked with particular excellence 
and now, singularly enough, defended by one who had with 
unusual luster worn the judicial ermine, while the issues 
were of the highest concern to the people of the State. 

The web of evidence woven was too strong to be broken 
even by the great lawyer for the defense. Glasgow was 
convicted and was fined two thousand pounds, while the 



STATE PRINTING IN POLITICS 


177 


negro who had attempted to burn the State House suffered 
the severest penalty of the law; he was executed. The 
other officials thought to have been involved in the frauds 
escaped punishment. 

Judge Haywood’s action in resigning to defend Glasgow 
was considered as a stain, and it bore hard upon him. At 
the following elections, he was a candidate both for the 
Assembly and as an elector; and he failed'in each instance. 
Indeed, a lawyer writing from Franklin County asserted 
that he “would not poll fifty votes in that county.” Despite 
his strong family connections and his deserved reputation 
for profound learning he lost public favor and made‘a ter¬ 
rible sacrifice without avail. Later, a great fee carried him 
to Tennessee, where he located and became the Chief Justice 
of that State, and the author of a valuable history of Ten¬ 
nessee and of other publications. 

The newspapers 

The publication of the Register at Raleigh led Hodge and 
his nephew, William Boylan, who were publishing the 
Minerva and Advertiser at Fayetteville, to move that paper 
to the capital, and presently the little village became the seat 
of a newspaper warfare that for a century with some inter¬ 
missions continued to enlist the sympathies of interested 
partisans and friends. Except during the year 1789 when 
A. Hall at Wilmington was the printer to the State, Hodge 
had done that work for years, and he was well prepared to 
execute it, for he printed books, almanacs and other publi¬ 
cations at Halifax, where likewise he had a printing office. 

During the summer the Republicans began to talk of 
sustaining the Register by giving the printing to Mr. Gales. 
This the Federals denounced as using the State patronage 
to help a party organ, and why should a change be made 
when Hodge was a good Federalist? But when the war 
fever abated, the Federalists had lost control of the State, 

and Gales’s friends were successful in the Assembly, al- 
12 


1801 




178 


THE NEW CENTURY 


though the Federalists elected five representatives in .Con¬ 
gress, and Adams secured four of the electoral votes of the 
State. When the Assembly met, the complexion of the 
Senate being changed, General Smith was not reelected 
Speaker, Gen. Joseph Riddick of Gates being his successor. 
In the House, Cabarrus was retained, and Williams re¬ 
mained Governor. 

Two judges were to be chosen, one in place of Haywood, 
and Johnston’s appointment having been only temporary. 
There were many aspirants. For four days the balloting 
continued amid great interest, then Johnston was chosen 
to retain his place, and the next day, December 13, 1800, 
John Hall of Warren was elected. While such an array of 
talent as the other candidates afforded was highly credita¬ 
ble to the State, the result was happy. Johnston was an 
ornament to the bench, and Hall proved an excellent judge. 
His opinions are models of pure diction and perspicacity; 
short, clear, sound, learned and logical, they have long 
been appreciated by the profession. 

Bloodworth’s term in the Senate was about to expire. 
At the election of a successor, Stone, Davie, Bloodworth and 
Locke were voted for; Stone was chosen, and so was trans¬ 
ferred from the House of Representatives to the Senate. 
His rise in political affairs was phenomenal. A man of 
talent, he was fortunate in being fully appreciated. Blood- 
worth, never equal to the high duties of Senator, was 
subsequently appointed Collector of Customs at Wilmineton, 
a position much more suited to his talents than Senator. 

In the electoral college 

Aaron Burr of New York, a man of fine attainments, the 
rival of Alexander Hamilton, but with an ambition that 
led to devious paths, was the running mate of Jefferson in 
the Presidential election. New England and the Northern 
States, except New York, stood fast against Virginia; but 
Adams lost votes at the South, and the Democratic candi- 



JEFFERSON UNITES HIS PARTY 


179 


dates received five more votes than at the previous election, 
and won. 

It happened, however, that Burr received the same vote 
as Jefferson, so it became necessary for the House of Repre¬ 
sentatives to elect one of them President. In that body, 
in such an election, each state has but a single vote, the pro¬ 
ceeding being an election by the states, and a majority of 
all the states is necessary to an election. While eight states 
voted for Jefferson, six voted for Burr, and the Repre¬ 
sentatives from two being equally divided, they could not 
vote at all. A week passed in fruitless ballotings, but on 
the 36th ballot, Jefferson received a majority and became 
President, Burr being the Vice-President. 

The new President, not forgetful of the anxious years he 
had passed and of the narrow margin by which he at last 
succeeded, like an adroit politician, took measures to 
strengthen his party. He soon proclaimed, “we are all 
Federalists; we are all Republicans”; and he wanted it un¬ 
derstood that we were all Americans and patriots. He re¬ 
tained in office many Federalists and offered desirable posi¬ 
tions to others. He was astute to reconcile those who might 
be helpful to his administration. 



CHAPTER XII 


Republicans in Power 

Macon Speaker.—Appointments tendered Davie, Steele and 
Hawkins.—The Federalists sustain the Minerva .—The Federal 
Court.—The “midnight judges.”—Dominie A. Hall circuit judge. 
—Court held at Bloomsbury.—Potter judge.—The Court of Con¬ 
ference.—Women heir to husbands in certain cases.—The new 
Judiciary Act repealed.—Chief Justice Marshall.—His views.— 
Death of Charles Johnson.—Duel between Stanly and Spaight.— 
A drastic law enacted.—Negro insurrections.—Governor Wil¬ 
liams urges general education.—Graham’s plan.—Colonel Ashe 
elected Governor.—Dies.—Turner Governor.—The Tuscarora 
reservation to belong to the State.—The Federalists lose popu¬ 
larity.—Davie and Alston.—Davie leaves the State.—Both houses 
of Congress presided over by North Carolinians.—Turner urges 
education.—Dudley’s measure.—O’Farrell’s Bill.—The House 
more conservative than the Senate.—Louisiana purchased.—New 
England alarmed.—Considers a northern confederacy.—The im¬ 
portance of the territory.—Robert Williams.—Emigration. 

Speaker Macon 

Willie Jones having died in 1801 his mantle had fallen 
on the shoulders of Nathaniel Macon, the representative 
from the Warren district. Besides now for the first time 
the speakership of the Federal House of Representatives 
was accorded to the South, and Macon was elected Speaker. 
As such, he was brought nearer than ever to the President, 
and there were close and cordial relations between them. 
He was very much of a politician, and thought it best to 
appoint to office men in line with Republican policies, and 
he cooperated with the President in tendering appointments 
to Davie and Steele. Davie had returned from France in 
December, 1800. He had not yielded to the solicitations 
of his friends to contest the seat in Congress with Willis 
Alston, but in January, 1801, he accepted employment from 
Governor Williams to establish the line between North and 
South Carolina. 


MIDNIGHT JUDGES 


181 


In June Jefferson and Macon offered Davie and Benjamin 
Hawkins very considerable employment, on a commission to 
negotiate treaties with the southwest tribes of Indians. 
Hawkins accepted; but Davie already had other engage¬ 
ments. However, in a letter to Steele, in August, Davie 
related the circumstances, and said: “My Federal friends 
were generally violently opposed to my acceptance, while 
those who are attached to the principles of the present ad¬ 
ministration discovered great anxiety that I should accept 
the appointment.” He himself apparently saw nothing to 
forbid it, but he declined because of other engagements. 
Indeed, one of the matters then uppermost in his thoughts 
was to secure the future of his party. He opened up a 
correspondence with Steele and others for forming plans to 
that end. The result was that the Minerva at Raleigh was 
to be sustained by voluntary subscriptions made by a num¬ 
ber of gentlemen, one of the objects being to counteract 
“the wild and visionary projects of Democracy and estab¬ 
lish the practical principles of Federalism.” 

Federal Court 

But while Jefferson was seeking to build up his party, he 
was not complacent regarding the action of the Adams ad¬ 
ministration. He regarded the Alien and Sedition Acts as 
unconstitutional and manifested his opinion by releasing 
men who had been imprisoned under them. The Judiciary 
Act had hurriedly been amended by providing for the ap¬ 
pointment of fifteen circuit judges and other judges as well, 
and in the expiring hours of his administration Adams had 
appointed many of these judges, known as “midnight 
judges.” Among them was William H. Hill, formerly 
district attorney, and later a member of Congress from the 
Wilmington district and one of the best educated and most 
influential of the Federal leaders of the State. This act was 
now to be repealed. But before its repeal, under its re¬ 
quirements, President Jefferson appointed Dominie A. Hall 


Davie 


Dodd: Life 
of Macon, 
178 , 179 



REPUBLICANS IN POWER 


18 2 


Acts 1792, 
ch. 1 


Circuit 
Court at 
Bloomsbury 


At Raleigh 


of South Carolina to be the presiding judge of the circuit 
court of the Fifth District, that included North Carolina, 
and Hall exhibited his commission at the district court at 
Raleigh. When the act was repealed Hall was appointed 
to be judge of the district court of Louisiana. 

North Carolina in 1790 had been constituted “a district,” 
and the circuit and district courts were to be held at New 
Bern, Judge Sitgreaves being the district judge. The dis¬ 
trict courts were to be held at New Bern, Wilmington and 
Edenton. At the November term of 1792 the circuit court 
was not held. 

Under the peculiar situation in 1802, President Jefferson 
in May appointed Henry Potter district judge; and on the 
same day appointed Edward Harris of North Carolina 
judge of the circuit court, and in June they held the last 
circuit court under the Adams system in the State. On 
July 1 the whole system fell. The law under which the 
circuit court judges were appointed being repealed, they 
all were legislated out; but Henry Potter, having been ap¬ 
pointed to the district court in the place of Judge Sitgreaves 
who had died, continued as district judge. In June, 1793, 
Judge Patterson attended at New Bern and the circuit court 
was held there, the last; for by act of March 3, 1793, the 
circuit court was “to be held at Wake courthouse until 
some convenient accommodation can be had in the city of 
Raleigh,” so on November 30, 1793, the court was held in 
the courtroom of Wake courthouse, described “as a log 
building on the hillside in front” of the Boylan homestead 
in Bloomsbury. The circuit court continued to meet in 
Bloomsbury until June 1, 1797, when it was opened by 
Judge Sitgreaves in the courthouse in the city of Raleigh. 
However, Judge Samuel Chase of Maryland, who had been 
appointed the year before, did not attend, and no court was 
held; but in November, 1797, Judge James Wilson did at¬ 
tend and the first circuit court was held in the courthouse at 
Raleigh. This was on the courthouse lot on Fayetteville 



REPUBLICANS ASCENDANT 



Street, “of wood, rectangular, of the shape of an old- 
fashioned meeting house.” It was used until 1835. 


The Assembly 


When the Assembly met it was Republican to the core and 1801 
the same officers were reelected. 

The Assembly was pleased with the result of the act re¬ 
quiring the judges to confer on undetermined questions 
arising on the circuit which had had a beneficial operation, 
and as it was about to expire, the act was now extended for 
three years longer, and the Assembly gave the court the Conference 
name of “The Court of Conference.” 

There was at this session a notable change in the law of 
inheritance, again favorable to the women; the widow was 
declared the heir of the husband who had no relative who 
might claim as heir. This operated to prevent escheat. 

The agitation against the Judiciary Act with its corps of 
new judges had been pressed so vigorously by the Republi¬ 
can leaders, that the Assembly passed a resolution instruct¬ 
ing the Senators and recommending the Representatives, to 
vote for its repeal; while the Alien and Sedition Act having 
been limited to two years had already passed away. These 
instructions presented a question which the Federal leaders ch. Justice 
unwisely emphasized into an issue to their discomfiture. Marsha11 
On March 8, 1802, Jefferson had the pleasure of signing the 
bill repealing the new Judiciary Act and Ihe old system 
was now restored, the circuit courts being held by a jus¬ 
tice of the Supreme Court and the district judge. The 
North Carolina circuit was selected by the Chief Justice, 

John Marshall, who had been in Adams’s Cabinet and had 
been transferred from the Cabinet to the court. He pre¬ 
sided as chief justice at the February term, 1801, of the 
court, but continued to act as Secretary of State until March 
3, 1801. He had been a participant in the debates in the Ernst's P e - 
Virginia Convention that adopted the Constitution, and made g ini ac°n- 

0 r _ ’ vention, 394 

a very elaborate exposition of the provisions of the proposed 




184 


REPUBLICANS IN POWER 


Marshall’s 

influence 


Winston: 
Hist, of 
Hertford, 83 


constitution concerning the judiciary. His view was that 
announced by Iredell; Marshall’s general opinion was that 
the Constitution should be reasonably interpreted, having 
in view the objects for which it was adopted. The dis¬ 
position of some Federalist judges to go to an extreme limit 
had already been curbed by the eleventh amendment; while, 
on the other hand, Federalist anxiety and dread of the pos¬ 
sible action of the Republicans was found to be without 
foundation. 

The Chief Justice held the circuit courts in North Caro¬ 
lina, and he was so highly esteemed and respected that the 
sharp divergence between the two parties largely subsided. 
Party spirit was allayed and the masses gave their confi¬ 
dence to the administration. In particular was this so in 
North Carolina where the great Chief Justice exerted 
a beneficial and elevating influence. 

During the early part of 1802 Charles Johnson, the Rep¬ 
resentative in Congress from the Chowan district, died, and 
at the August election Gen. Thomas Wynne of Hertford 
was elected to the vacant seat. General Wynne, ‘‘able, 
wealthy and benevolent,” had for ten years served as Sena¬ 
tor from Hertford County, and had been a Jefferson elector 
and was a staunch Republican. He took his seat December 
7, 1802. 

Stanly-Spaiglit duel 

Governor Spaight, who had been the Senator from 
Craven, was again a candidate as a Republican. During the 
canvass John Stanly, who was then in Congress, took the 
stump to defeat Spaight, although Representatives in Con¬ 
gress were not to be elected that year. There were frequent 
discussions between these great leaders, which became per¬ 
sonal and bitter. Stanly charged Spaight with dodging, 
under the plea of ill health, when the Alien and Sedition 
Act was before Congress. Spaight was elected. He re¬ 
plied to Stanly's charge in a handbill which caused Stanly 



REACTION TO DUELING 


185 


to send a challenge. The meeting took place the same day, 
Sunday afternoon, on the outskirts of New Bern, September 
5, 1802. On the fourth fire Governor Spaight was mortally 
wounded and died the next day. Spaight was then about 
50 years of age, a man full of honors and usefulness; 
Stanly was but 27. Criminal proceedings were instituted 
against Stanly—but he made such representations to Gov¬ 
ernor Williams that the Governor pardoned him. To fill 
the vacancy caused by Spaight’s death, at a by-election, 
William Blackledge was chosen Senator. 

The Legislature, shocked at this unfortunate affair, by 
which the State was deprived of one of its most esteemed 
citizens, immediately passed an act making “ineligible to any 
office of trust, honor or profit, any one sending, accepting or 
bearing a challenge, and he shall be liable to be indicted, 
despite any pardon or reprieve; and in case of a duel, and 
either party is killed, the survivor shall suffer death and all 
aiding and abetting shall likewise suffer death.” This dras¬ 
tic legislation doubtless had some effect, but still in time 
there were those who risked life on the fieldand among 
them were three other Stanlvs. 

Negro insurrections 

In September, 1800, there had been a well-prepared 
plan for an insurrection at Richmond, Virginia. A slave, 
Gabriel Prosser, calling himself “Bonaparte,” was at its 
head. Eleven hundred negroes were to assemble six miles 
from the city, and being arranged in three bodies were to 
march that night and take possession. Success was to be 
followed bv a call to arms of all negroes on the continent. 
All male white and elderly women were to be slaughtered, 
the young white women saved for wives. The plan fell 
through, and Gabriel was captured three weeks later on 
board a vessel down the James. This attempted rising 
caused much apprehension and excitement. Perhaps the 
ne^ro insurrection in San Domingo may have had some in- 


Duels made 
criminal 



REPUBLICANS IN POWER 


186 


Sprunt 
Mon., XIV, 
83, 84 


Battle’s 
Raleigh ad¬ 
dress 


Moore, II, 
438 


Graham’s 

plan 


fluence on the minds of these usually amiable and submis¬ 
sive slaves. At any rate, serious combinations were dis¬ 
covered among them in Hertford and Washington counties, 
and there were many rumors of negro risings throughout 
the northeastern counties which often created a wild panic. 

An actual rising in June, 1802, caused great alarm. 
Frank Sumners was at the head of it. This discovery 
created apprehensions from Tar River to the Atlantic. Vol¬ 
unteer companies were organized for patrolling and for 
arresting suspected persons. At one time 100 men were 
locked up in Martin County. Similarly, about the same 
time, there was great excitement in Franklin County and 
throughout the middle section of the State, and many arrests 
were made. The Legislature in consequence, passed a law, 
looking to the suppression of negro insurrections; but the 
period of unrest apparently passed away without leaving 
any deplorable results to regret. 

Ineffectual movements for education 

Governor Williams in his last message to the Assembly 
called attention to both internal improvements and public 
education. “Our inland navigation and the still greater 
importance of providing thorough, adequate and suitable 
means for a general diffusion of learning throughout the 
State . . . a far more estimable end . . . that our 

posterity will be enabled at all times and on all occasions, 
duly to appreciate and properly understand and defend 
their natural, civil and political rights; in Ane, that with en¬ 
lightened minds, and the consequent love of freedom, they 
will never cease to be free.” This was the Arst suggestion 
of general education, but the suggestion fell on unaccus¬ 
tomed ears and it was then not heeded. 

In August, 1802, General Joseph Graham, one of the he¬ 
roes of the Revolution, proposed an elaborate plan for a 
military academy, the State to make provision for the sup¬ 
port of the students, one student being allowed for each of 



SCHOOL PROJECT FAILS 


187 


the 80 militia regiments of the State. The course of in¬ 
struction was to be such as to fit the students to be officers 
of the militia. Nor was this proposition acted on by the 
Assembly. Had the plan been adopted, it doubtless would 
have been highly beneficial in its efifects. 

Death of Colonel Ashe 

This being the close of Governor Williams’s term, Col. 
John B. Ashe was elected his successor, but when the Com¬ 
mittee waited on him at his residence at Halifax, he was 
found to be ill; and in a few days, he died, at the age of 
54, much lamented. He had been one of the best officers of 
the Continental army and, later, was leader in the Conti¬ 
nental Congress. Senator James Turner of Warren was 
then elected Governor, taking his seat on the first day of 
December. 

The Tuscarora lands 

The Tuscarora Indians had been given a reservation 
on the Roanoke River in 1715, when a large number of them 
moved to New York, their original region, becoming the 
sixth nation there. In 1766, they had leased for fifty years 
a part of their land in Bertie County to Robert Jones, the 
father of Willie Jones; and now the remaining Indians 
wished to lease or dispose of the rest of their land and go 
north. The agent of the State arranged for such a lease, 
and the Assembly ratified the agreement, one of the condi¬ 
tions being that the lease was to expire in 1816, along with 
the first one; and then the entire reservation was to become 
the property of the State. As this arrangement had to be in 
the way of a treaty with the tribe, which could be made only 
bv the general government, President Jefferson appointed 
Davie a commissioner on the part of the United States, and 
the treaty was duly executed at Raleigh, December 4, 1802, 
and submitted to the United States Senate February 13, 


Turner, 

Governor 



REPUBLICANS IN POWER 


188 


1803. By this treaty the Tuscarora tribe of Indians ceased 
to have any connection with North Carolina. 

The defeat of Federal leaders 

At the election of August, 1803, Congressmen were to be 
chosen. The result proved the bad policy of the Feder¬ 
alist leaders in making an issue with the Assemblymen in 
the matter of recommending the Representatives to vote 
for the repeal of the Judiciary Act. The Federal Repre¬ 
sentatives in Congress had antagonized the Assembly, and 
Archibald Henderson, Steele’s brother-in-law, made a 
speech voicing the determination of his three Federalist as¬ 
sociates to ignore the recommendation of the people’s rep¬ 
resentatives in the Legislature. It sounded the death knell 
of those members. The result in its effects on the life of 

Davie de- Davie was lamentable. Two years earlier he had declined 

f G3/tG(i • . 

to contest the seat in Congress with Willis Alston; but this 
year, Mr. Jacocks, a Republican, was in the field against 
Alston; and there seemed to be no doubt that Davie, polling 
all of the Federalist strength, could come in between them. 
He yielded to the solicitations of his friends and announced 
himself. Mr. Macon, now the Speaker of the House, and 
close to the President, and at the head of the party in the 
State, at once interfered. He succeeded in influencing Mr. 
Jacocks to withdraw. Davie made no speeches, but the 
campaign against him took a personal cast, and according 
to tradition, which, however, cannot always be relied on, 
his aristocratic bearing was dwelt on to his prejudice. 

Willis Alston himself was a gentleman and a man of such 
intellectual force that some years later he was the chairman 
of the very important Committee of Ways and Means in the 
House of Representatives. 

Davie fell a sacrifice to his party. He keenly felt the 
blow. Iredell, Judge Sitgreaves, Allen Jones, Willie Jones 
and John B. Ashe had died, and Judge Samuel Johnston had 
retired from the bench and the Federalists were exiled from 



A PATRIOT SELF-EXPATRIATED 


189 


public places of honor; and Davie was bereft of his wife, 
leaving him with a number of young children to care for. 
Two years later, having arranged his North Carolina busi¬ 
ness, he retired to his plantation, Tivoli, on the Catawba 
in South Carolina, but he continued to correspond with his 
North Carolina friends and he put his daughter in school 
at Salem and his sons were educated at the University, of 
which he was more largely than any one else, the founder, 
and where his name and fame are perpetuated. 

North Carolinians preside in Congress 

Macon had served so acceptably as Speaker that at the 
meeting of the Congress in October, 1803, he was reelected; 
while in the Senate on March 10, 1804, Jesse Franklin had 
become so highly esteemed that he was chosen president 
pro tern, of that body, to preside whenever the Vice-Presi¬ 
dent was absent, and for a year these highest posts of honor 
in the two bodies were held by these North Carolinians. 

The House not favorable to education 

When the Assembly met Governor Turner followed the 
example of his predecessor, declaring: “Too much atten¬ 
tion cannot be paid to the education of youth, by pro¬ 
moting the establishment of schools in every part of the 
State.” The subject was interesting to others, Christopher 
Dudley, the Senator from Onslow, introduced a bill pro¬ 
viding for a seminary of learning in each district and ap¬ 
propriating for their use one-half of all moneys arising from 
escheats in that district. This bill passed the Senate but 
failed in the House. Then Senator O’Farrell introduced a 
bill to establish a uniform and general system of education 
throughout the State, but while the bill required that acad¬ 
emies should be established in each county, the only source 
of funds mentioned was donations. This also failed in the 
House. 


Davie moves 
to South 
Carolina 


1803 



190 


REPUBLICANS IN POWER 


Presidential 

electors 


There was always a chance for some divergence between 
the Senators and the Representatives in the House of Com¬ 
mons although both were to be freeholders. The Senators 
were elected only by freeholders; while for members of the 
House any freeman who had paid his taxes could vote. 
The electorate for the latter was therefore different and was 
virtually based on manhood suffrage. Even free negroes 
could vote. Senators had to own three hundred acres of 
land, while the qualification of a member of the House 
was only fifty acres. The Senate therefore might well have 
been the more conservative body; but in the matter of pub¬ 
lic education it was the House that rejected the proposed 
measures. Evidently the less- enlightened people consti¬ 
tuted the opposition, and it was so likewise as to other 
measures proposing improvements. 

It was the duty of the Legislature to appoint electors, 
and following the North Carolina practice, it passed an act 
providing for their election by districts. 

The purchase of Louisiana 

The year 1803 was marked by an event of great impor¬ 
tance. Spain held Florida from the Georgia line to the 
Mississippi just below Natchez and also Louisiana, extend¬ 
ing from the Gulf of Mexico northward to Red River, then 
west to 1 ooth degree of longitude, then north to the British 
dominions. Save a few scattered settlements this vast terri¬ 
tory was unoccupied and unexplored. Jefferson, without 
the sanction of Congress and, in his own opinion, without 
constitutional warrant, purchased this wilderness for the 
United States. Spain had conveyed Louisiana to France, 
the actual possession passing at New Orleans November 
30, 1803. On Jefferson’s purchase, the actual possession 
was delivered by France at New Orleans on December 20, 
1803, France holding the actual possession less than a 
month. The delivery was to William Claiborne and Wil- 



NEW ENGLAND SCARE SUBSIDES 


191 


liatn Wilkinson “in the name of the Congress of the 
United States.” 

The Federalists of New England were alarmed, con¬ 
ceiving that there would be created states toward the south 
that would endanger their welfare in the Union. Some of 
them formed the project of dissolving the Union and form¬ 
ing a northern confederacy. They claimed that the interests 
of the northern states required a northern confederacy. 
This project was extensively discussed by the members of 
Congress from Massachusetts and Connecticut and a meet¬ 
ing was arranged to be held at Boston in the autumn of 
1804. But better counsels prevailed and New England ac¬ 
quiesced in this purchase. The settlers in Kentucky and 
Tennessee and along the Ohio had free a-ccess to the Mis¬ 
sissippi River and an outlet to the markets of the world 
through New Orleans; and the purchase provided the means 
of indefinite expansion to the westward free from any in¬ 
terference by foreign powers. In this view, the acquisi¬ 
tion of that vast territory was the most important event in 
the history of the country except the Declaration of Inde¬ 
pendence and the formation of the Union. It had its polit¬ 
ical effect in strengthening Jefferson in the esteem of the 
masses; but the Federalist leaders did not abate their an¬ 
tagonism. 

Robert Williams of Rockingham County was now charged 
with the responsible duties of a commissioner to ascertain 
the rights of persons claiming land in the Mississippi Ter¬ 
ritory; and in 1805 he became Governor of that territory, 
administering its affairs for four years. Later he settled 
at Monroe, Louisiana. 

With the opening of this western territory, there began 
a movement of population from North Carolina to the west 
and northwest, at first hardly observable but gradually in¬ 
creasing in volume until it reached its culmination in the 
decade ending 1840 when the whites did not increase three 
per cent and the quarter of a million of blacks showed no 
increase at all. 


A northern 

confederacy 

proposed 


Papers Am. 
Hist. Assn., 
I, 252 


Cooley: In. 
Hist. Soc. 
Pam., No. 3 


Effect on 

North 

Carolina 




CHAPTER XIII 


Turner's Administration 

Jefferson again elected.—Macon’s influence.—Fears propa¬ 
ganda against slavery.—Does not favor public schools.—Turner’s 
efforts in vain.—Cotton and negroes.—Result of cotton gin.— 
Cotton mills.—South Carolina reopens slave trade.—Severely 
reprobated in North Carolina.—Proposes a constitutional amend¬ 
ment.-—The problems.— “Persons of color.”—The State Repub¬ 
lican.-—Stokes elected Senator.—Declines.—Only one Senator.— 
The Supreme Court.—The Granville Claim.—Progressive meas¬ 
ures.—The currency.—The Bank of the United States.—The only 
specie foreign coins.—Bank of Cape Fear at Wilmington and 
Bank of New Bern.—The State Bank.—Records may be kept in 
United States currency.—Absence of transportation facilities.— 
The east dominates.—A convention voted down.—Turner Sen¬ 
ator.—Alexander Governor.—Superior courts held in each 
county.—Franklin Senator.—Stone and Lowrie judges.—Women 
allowed benefit of clergy. 

The election 

At the presidential election Connecticut and Delaware 
alone voted solidly against Jefferson. In Maryland he lost 
two votes; every other electoral vote was cast for him and 
George Clinton of New York, who was a near kinsman of 
the North Carolina Clintons of Sampson County. By the 
casting vote of Speaker Macon a constitutional amendment 
had been submitted to the states, which they adopted, requir¬ 
ing the electors to vote for the President distinct from the 
Vice-President, so although each Jefferson and Clinton re¬ 
ceived 162 votes a contest like that between Jefferson and 
Burr did not arise. 


Macon’s influence 

The cry of “party” in North Carolina as elsewhere was 
now largely hushed. The field was clear for the wise and 
progressive men of the State to improve conditions. But 
unhappily the leaders were much in love with Macon, who 
was even less inclined to progress than Willie Jones had 
been. The fundamental basis of Macon’s political creed 


AN UNPROGRESSIVE STATESMAN 


193 


seems to have been that the function of government was 
simply to afford protection to individual rights, leaving other 
matters to the people themselves. In his view it was not for 
the State to engage in works of internal improvement or 
to educate the people, but merely to maintain an economical, 
honest, efficient government. In Congress he was, first, 
for observing the limitations of the Constitution; then for 
economy; and as he had seen many appropriations for im¬ 
proved facilities wasted, the projects proving abortive, he 
held that if anything was worth doing, individuals and pri¬ 
vate capital would be found to do it. 

In particular, he early realized that the propaganda 
against African slavery was a menace. As to that he was 
seer and prophet. It may be said that he did his own 
thinking and, though not a disorganize^ he never suppressed 
his intelligence while according to others the right to follow 
their own judgment. Although his career in Congress re¬ 
flected honor on the State it was unfortunate that his states¬ 
manship as to community matters was not broader, having 
for its object to elevate the masses and improve social con¬ 
ditions. On the other hand, his proudest boast was that 
“there was no state in the Union more attached to law and 
order than North Carolina.” 

Illiteracy 

Despite the efforts made to maintain academies and pri¬ 
vate schools, the mass of the people was growing up illit¬ 
erate, and Macon held that it was not a function of govern¬ 
ment to provide educational facilities. He was not alone, 
for in the Assembly were many of the first men of the State 
and their nonaction was in line with his views. 

In vain had Governor Turner emphasized the recom¬ 
mendation of Governor Williams, in vain had he called on 
the Assembly to provide “that the children of the poorest 
citizens might have access, at least, to necessary instruction.” 

And, in his last message, in 1805, he said: “It is evident 
13 



194 


TURNER’S ADMINISTRATION 


that the situation in our State calls for legislative aid”; 
but his voice fell on unresponsive ears; and so it continued, 
each successive Governor, at every session, pressed the sub¬ 
ject, but without avail. 


McCullock: 
Commerce, 
I. 532 


South Caro¬ 
lina reopens 
the slave 
trade 


1803 


Cotton and negroes 

The introduction of the gin had already given an impetus 
to the cultivation of cotton, which, however, was much 
more observable in South Carolina and Georgia than in 
North Carolina. Indeed North Carolina was not much 
affected by it. In 1792 the entire cotton crop of the South 
was only 138,328 pounds, ten years later it had risen to 
27,500,000 pounds, and in 1805 to 40,330,000 pounds; but 
North Carolina’s crop was only one-tenth of that quantity. 
The price was highly remunerative, being about 30 cents, 
and in 1798 as much as 40 cents, but after that high water 
mark there was a recession. 

In England there had long been some cotton mills, 
and about 1790 some were erected in Massachusetts; but 
these were not similar to the mills later built. Machinery 
was for carding and spinning only. The looms were like 
those in the homes of the people, hand looms; and it was 
not until 1816 that the power looms were introduced. 

Nevertheless while only hand looms were in use the de¬ 
mand for cotton was now so constant that its culture went 
forward with leaps and bounds; and under its stimulus, 
South Carolina in 1803 repealed the prohibition that State, in 
common with all other states, had enacted against the 
importation of negroes. 

In Charleston, it is narrated that every one invested every 
dollar he could command in imported negroes, and nothing 
else was bought. Although the slave trade was not open 
longer than four years, there must have been brought into 
Charleston forty thousand negroes. In 1800 Georgia and 
South Carolina had but 205,000, and ten years later they 
had 301,000, at least forty thousand more than the natural 



PROTEST AGAINST SLAVE TRADE 


195 


increase. This opening of the slave trade was severely 
reprobated in North Carolina. When the Assembly met in 
November, 1804, Senator William P. Little of Warren in¬ 
troduced a resolution instructing the North Carolina Sena¬ 
tors and Representatives in Congress to propose an amend¬ 
ment to the Constitution prohibiting the slave trade. Gen. 
Benjamin Smith from the committee to whom the resolution 
was referred reported it back favorably; and it was adopted; 
and it was ordered to be communicated to the executive of 
every state. 

North Carolina at that time was not indifferent to the 
negro question in the various shapes in which the subject 
of the African race was presented; one-third of the popula¬ 
tion were negroes, and the country was but sparsely set¬ 
tled. There were influences exerted for emancipation, but 
it was not desirable that the number of free negroes should 
be increased while the agitation for emancipation unsettled 
the negroes held in slavery and led to apprehensions. And 
this is to be observed that in all the references to negroes 
at that period they were not mentioned as Africans or as 
negroes, but as “persons of color”; such was the usual des¬ 
ignation in all the laws for many years. And as “persons of 
color,” when free, they were “freemen” and were allowed 
to vote. At the session of 1804 there was a proposition 
that passed the Senate, to prohibit free negroes from voting. 
It, however, failed to pass the House. A proposition of a 
different tenor prohibiting slaves from hiring their own 
time was adopted, while the strong declaration against the 
slave trade indicates the attitude of the State as unfavor¬ 
able to the unnecessary extension of slavery. The situation, 
even in those years, was difficult and embarrassing. 


North Caro¬ 
lina protests 


Persons of 
color 


The State with Jefferson 

The Assembly was thoroughly Republican. The former 
officers were reelected, including Governor Turner; and a 
resolution receiving in the Senate, where Federalism was 




196 


TURNER’S ADMINISTRATION 


Senate 

Journal, 

1804 


1804 


always stronger than in the House, 32 votes to only 8 in 
the negative, was adopted, expressing the highest confi¬ 
dence in the administration and applauding the purchase of 
Louisiana. Indeed, at the election of presidential electors 
every district was for Jefferson. 

Senator Franklin’s term was now expiring, and he de 
dined to be a candidate for reelection. Speaker Cabarrus 
and Gen. Benjamin Smith both declined to be candidates. 
After several ballots, Gen. Montfort Stokes was elected 
Senator. But he did not desire the appointment and de¬ 
clined it. However, the Assembly was not advised of his 
declination before it adjourned; and during the year there 
was but one Senator from the State, Judge Stone. 

The Supreme Court 

At this session of the Assembly the Court of Conference 
was retained as a permanent court of record, and the judges 
were required to reduce their opinions to writing and to 
deliver them in open court; and it was provided that a single 
judge could hold a Superior Court. 

The next year the name of the court was changed to 
“The Supreme Court,” and the desire of Governor Sam 
Johnston was on the eve of accomplishment. 

The Granville claim 

In 1804 there had been instituted in the circuit court of the 
LTnlted States, at Raleigh, a suit of great magnitude. It was 
brought by the heirs of Earl Granville against Josiah Collins 
and Nathan Allen, and a similar suit against William R. 
Davie. The basis of the action was the claim set up under 
Granville’s title to the upper part of the State and extending 
to the Mississippi River—all the land which in Colonial days 
had been held by Granville and which he had not granted to 
settlers. Linder the terms of the Treaty of Peace it would 
seem that the Granville right and title had been preserved. 
But the State contended that by its Constitution, declaring 



GRANVILLE CLAIMANTS LOSE 


1 97 


the boundaries and limits of the State and asserting the sov¬ 
ereignty of the State therein, it ha*d put an end to all the 
rights of the Crown in that domain, and of the Granville 
right likewise. In its scope this case was doubtless the most 
important ever before a court in the State, and it excited 
a great deal of public interest. Mr. John London of Wil¬ 
mington was the agent of the Earl of Coventry, successor 
by devise to Earl Granville. He employed William Gaston 
and Edward Harris for the plaintiff. The defendants were 
represented by Judge Duncan Cameron, M. Woodsford, 
Blake Baker. The title of the case was “Doe on the demise 
of George William Coventry and others against Josiah 
Collins and Nathaniel Allen; ejectment.” The plea of the 
defendants was “common rule,” “not guilty.” On June 18, 
1804, Chief Justice Marshall and Henry Potter sitting, a 
jury was empaneled, one of the jurors being Joseph Gales. 
Evidence was introduced, and a demurrer to evidence be¬ 
ing tendered and joined, the jury was thereupon discharged. 
At the December term, it was moved on behalf of the de¬ 
fendants that the demurrer to evidence be discharged. This 
motion being opposed by plaintiff’s counsel, on argument it 
was ordered: “The court will consider further thereon till 
next term of court.” At the next term, when the case 
was reached, the entry is: “The motion made in this cause 
at the last term to discharge the demurrer to evidence being 
further argued, it was ordered by his Honor, Judge Potter, 
who filed a long and elaborate opinion, (his Honor the Chief 
Justice utterly declining to give any opinion thereon) that 
the said demurrer be discharged, and that a jury be again 
empaneled to try the issue of fact joined between the 
plaintiff and defendant in this cause. To which said opin¬ 
ion and order, counsel for the plaintiff in behalf of the said 
plaintiff did then and there in open court except. . . . 

The jury find the defendant not guilty of the trespass and 
ejectment stated in plaintiff’s declaration. Bill of excep¬ 
tions filed and ordered to be made part of the record.” The 


H. G. 

Connor in 
Univ. Pa. 
Law Review, 
Oct., 1914 



TURNER’S ADMINISTRATION 


198 


case went by appeal to the Supreme Court of United States, 
but was not prosecuted; and some years later was dropped. 
Such was the termination of this important litigation. 

Before the session of 1804 had closed academies were in¬ 
measures 1 ™ corporated for Greene County, in Moore, at Hyco, and 
Smithville and steps were taken to open Fishing Creek, to 
cut a navigable canal through the Dismal Swamp from 
Camden to Gates, to improve the Yadkin, Little River and 
Ocracoke Inlet, and for cutting navigable canals from the 
Roanoke to the Meherrin and from Bennetts Creek to the 
Nansemond. 


The Bank 
of U. S. 


The currency 

Prior to the introduction of banks the ordinary currency 
had been foreign silver pieces, particularly the coins struck 
off by Spain and its dependencies. The United States coin¬ 
age laws authorized the mint to strike off both silver and 
gold coins; but no silver had been found in this country and 
only a little gold, while the disturbed condition of com¬ 
merce incident to the European war had resulted in cutting 
off our supply of silver. Indeed, the world’s supply of 
silver had become so limited that that metal was scarce 
and had appreciated more than three per cent, with the effect 
of leading to the exportation of our silver dollars, and re¬ 
ducing our circulation. To stop this, the coinage of the 
dollar piece was forbidden, and only fractional currency was 
in use. To meet the conditions paper money had to be re¬ 
sorted to. 

A bank had been established by Congress, the Bank of 
the United States, that was allowed to open offices in the 
several states to handle the government collections; but no 
trace of its usefulness is preserved so far as North Caro¬ 
lina is concerned. A community without banking facilities 
would now be in a deplorable plight, and at this period to 
transact financial business the State had to rely on the facil¬ 
ities offered by the merchants, particularly those of the 



FINANCIAL RELIEF 


199 


seaports. The currency of account was pounds and shil- • 
lings, while the currency of the United States was dollars 
and cents; and there being virtually no United States coin 
in the marts of commerce, foreign coins were the only specie 
in use. But in 1804 the Legislature manifested a com¬ 
mendable spirit of progress or rather reflected the spirit 
that was beginning to pervade the people. Reciting that the 
commerce of Wilmington and Fayetteville needed banking 
facilities, the Bank of Cape Fear was incorporated to be 
opened at Wilmington with a branch at Fayetteville and 
with a provision that the State could subscribe for 250 
shares of the stock; and another act incorporated the New 
Bern Marine Insurance Company and also the New Bern 
Bank. These banks were allowed to issue their own notes 
as currency, not in excess of three times their capital, and 
otherwise limited. This was one of the first movements 
looking to the association of capital in community opera¬ 
tions. It betokened growth, development, a breaking away 
from the past, new things in the life of the communities; 
and the next year the Legislature chartered the State Bank 
of North Carolina, which it was hoped would absorb the 
other banks. But at the following session the charter of 
the State Bank was repealed: yet only to be reformed and 
revived at the session of 1810. By that act, the mother 
bank was to be at Raleigh, with members at Edenton, New 
Bern, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Tarboro and Salisbury. The 
State was to take $250,000 of stock; and notes could be 
issued not in excess of $4,8op,ooo over deposits. No other 
bank was to be established; and it was hoped that this new 
institution would absorb the banks of Cape Fear and of 
New Bern. It was modeled somewhat after the Scotch 
banks, but was not particularly authorized to pay interest 
on deposits, which was one of the peculiarities of the Scotch 
banks. The advantage to the people and to the State of 
these new financial institutions was immense. There was 
now some hope of substantial improvement. 


The curren¬ 
cy 


State banks 


1804 


1809 



200 


TURNER’S ADMINISTRATION 


Dollars 
and cents 


In 1809 it was found convenient for accounts and records 
to be kept in dollars and cents, instead of pounds and shil¬ 
lings ; and the Legislature enacted that “hereafter the cur¬ 
rency of the United States shall be recognized as the lawful 
currency of this State, and it may be lawful for the records 
to be kept in dollars and cents,” but it was not obligatory. 
However, this step tended to eliminate one of the subsist¬ 
ing differences between North Carolina and the United 
States; the people were getting to have the same unit of 
value and to think in dollars and cents. 


1805 


Conv. Jour¬ 
nal, 87 


The east opposed to progress 

Among the palpable and potent drawbacks to progress in 
the State was the absence of transportation facilities. The 
Legislature had sought to mitigate this evil by having road 
laws, by providing that the highways should be kept open, 
and by constant legislation in regard to inland navigation. 
At the session of December, 1805, the committee to whom 
was referred the Governor’s message relating to “inland 
navigation, public roads and the education of youth,” re¬ 
ported that “they are of the opinion that although the situ¬ 
ation of the State requires legislative aid, yet for the want 
of sufficient funds, an interference at this time would be in¬ 
expedient,” and the House concurred in the report. 

Thirty years later in the State Convention, Wellborn, 
then well advanced in years, attributed the indifference of 
the Assembly to internal improvements to the preponderat¬ 
ing voice of the east in the legislative halls. He said that 
thirty years earlier he had brought the subject of eastern 
control before the Legislature, but without avail. They 
had replied: “Nature has supplied us with the means of 
reaching a good market and we will not be taxed for your 
benefit.” 

The key to the situation was the dominancy of the east, 
and that was secured by the provisions of the Constitution 
that could not be changed. December, 1807, Mr. Terrell 



HOUSE BUILT FOR THE GOVERNOR 


201 


offered a resolution that it is expedient to provide by law 
for calling a convention to revise and amend the Constitu¬ 
tion. The House was not of his mind; the vote was only 
21 affirmative and 99 in the negative. The effort was 
hopeless. 

During Turner’s administration the Legislature passed 
an act requiring the Governor to reside in Raleigh the en¬ 
tire year, and a frame house was erected for him on the 
southwest corner of Fayetteville and Hargett streets. 

Governor Alexander 

At the session of 1805, there being a vacancy in the Sen¬ 
ate, Governor Turner was elected to fill it; and Nathaniel 
Alexander was chosen Governor, and “Alexander Martin, 
LL.D.,” was elected to preside over the Senate. Governor 
Alexander had hardly been inaugurated before he notified 
Speaker Martin that he was unable to attend to his duties as 
Governor; and thereupon the Senate elected Joseph Rid¬ 
dick speaker pro tern., while Speaker Martin discharged the 
duties of Governor. But that situation did not long con¬ 
tinue, for soon Governor Alexander was back in his office. 

Superior Courts in every county 

The year 1806 marked a particular change in the judicial 
system. The State was divided into six circuits, and a 
Superior Court was to be held twice a year in each county; 
before that the Superior courts had been held in districts 
composed of several counties; and it was burdensome for 
the suitors to attend them. Now, one judge rode a cir¬ 
cuit, and courts were held in every county. That required 
an increase of two judges. Senator Stone’s term as Senator 
was drawing to its close and Jesse Franklin, who had two 
years earlier declined to be a candidate to succeed himself, 
now contested Stone’s reelection and again became a Sena¬ 
tor. Senator Stone and David Lowrie were elected the addi¬ 
tional judges. Stone thereupon resigned from the Senate 


1807 


1806 



202 


TURNER’S ADMINISTRATION 


Women 
allowed 
benefit of 
clergy 


5 N. C. 
Reports, 112 


February 17, 1807, and took his seat on the bench. After 
that, all of the judges being members of the Supreme Court, 
there might have been six in attendance; but any two consti¬ 
tuted a quorum for the transaction of business. 

A novel question now came before the courts. Elizabeth 
Gray was convicted of grand larceny, and there was a doubt 
whether a woman was entitled to the benefit of clergy. The 
court in conference held that there was no reason why fe¬ 
males should not be equally entitled as males; and the Leg¬ 
islature, to settle the matter, passed an act to that effect 
December, 1806; but in the same enactment it was provided 
that persons who robbed houses in the daytime should be 
excluded from the benefit. 



CHAPTER XIV 


Steps Toward War 

Macon loses speakership.—Refuses Cabinet appointments.— 
Jefferson’s measures for peace.—The embargo.—The Assembly 
invites Jefferson to stand for a third term.—New England 
against the embargo.—Stone Governor.—Gaston.—The Assembly 
sustains the administration.—Henderson and Wlright judges.— 
Gaston Speaker.—War preparations.—Jacob Henry urges reli¬ 
gious tolerance.—Embargo gives place to nonintercourse.— 
Macon's statesmanship.—Stone’s message.—The press.—Gates 
for progress.—Seaton.—France and Great Britain seize our ships. 
—Smith Governor.—At Washington.—Hawkins Governor.— 
Steele Speaker.—Henry Clay.—The Federalists for England.— 
William R. King.—Electors to be chosen by Assembly.—Public 
indignation.—Domestic commerce.—'Wilmington, New Bern.—• 
A regiment raised.—Polk Colonel.—Physical phenomena.—The 
Declaration of War.—Political differences.—The Republicans 
hold the Assembly—Stone Senator.—Stay law.—Steamboats.— 
Death of Mrs. Alston. 


Macon 

Mr. Macon had had a distinguished career as Speaker of 
the House. He had been a strong leader for states’ rights 
under the Constitution and for the Southern interests and 
for suppressing the agitation born of the continuance of 
slavery at the South. He ever had an independent mind; 
and likewise, he had some eccentricities. 

In 1802 Macon, on intimate terms with the President, had 
advised him to purchase Florida. Two years later, the 
President asked for an appropriation of two million 
dollars to make the purchase. Randolph, the chairman of 
the Committee of Ways and Means, Macon’s appointee and 
Macon’s friend, would not cooperate. The President 
turned to Varnum of Massachusetts, Macon’s competitor in 
the House, and Varnum got it for him. There were other 
causes of divergence. At length, when the Congress of 
1807 was expiring, the Republicans still being in control, 
Macon realized that he would not be again chosen Speaker. 
He was out of tune with those who had looked up to him 
from the floor of the House for six years. To avoid being 


1807 


Dodd: 
Macon, 201 


204 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


Dodd: 
Macon, 219 


Ibid., 216 


Impressment 


1808 


The 

embargo 


present when the Juggernaut car was to parade, he remained 
at his home in Warren, until Congress had been in session 
a month and Varnum, his old competitor, had grown ac¬ 
customed to the Speaker’s chair, and even then it was some 
considerable time before he manifested interest in the de¬ 
bates. While he was Speaker Virginia and North Carolina 
had a dominating influence on the general policies of the 
country—now Massachusetts ruled the House. But Macon 
was of such consequence that the President had no wish to 
ignore him, and indeed they had ever had much in common 
and Jefferson was under lasting obligations to North Caro¬ 
lina. Twice the President offered him a seat in the Cabinet; 
and twice he put aside the proffered honor. 

All Europe was at war, on land and water. New Eng¬ 
land’s ship-building industries had become extensive and 
the sails of her vessels whitened every sea. Her enter¬ 
prising mariners were absorbing the carrying trade and 
giving comfort to Britain’s enemies. Britain claimed the 
services of all her subjects and took them where she found 
them, especially her seamen on board American vessels. 
Jefferson, not a warrior, but of the closet and, desiring to 
preserve peace, sought to induce Britain to desist by peace¬ 
ful measures. An act was passed in April, 1806, prohib¬ 
iting the importation of British goods; however, Jefferson, 
as well, proposed measures of defense. 

At first Macon, on the floor, was not in accord with the ad¬ 
ministration, but later when an embargo was proposed, and 
an army was to be raised, he fell into line. By the Embargo 
Act of December 22, 1807, no vessel was to be cleared for 
any foreign port whatever. Commerce ceased. Hushed 
were the busy wharves. The merchants closed their doors. 
The seamen’s vocation was gone. Industry was stagnant. 
Only the manufactures of New England and Pennsylvania 
found a ready sale. The products of the plantation had no 
purchasers. The Southern planters were hit hard. It was 
at that time, however, that the making of salt was renewed 



PERIOD OF UNREST 


205 


along the coast, and the looms at home were busy supplying 
clothing. But privations and loss and suffering were borne 
because they were in the interest of peace; and while there 
were some divisions the mass of the people sustained the 
President. 

At the election, the Republicans held their own. When 
the Assembly met, Joshua G. Wright, who had represented 
the borough of Wilmington for many years, became the 
Speaker of the House; and although Governor Alexander 
sought reelection, Williams was chosen. The conditions 
were so serious that disregarding the example Washington 
had set, the Assembly, in an address to Jefferson, invited 
him to allow his name to be presented for a third term. In 
the House Gaston opposed this resolution, but it was 
adopted by a vote of 83 to 35. Jefferson, however, did not 
assent. 

At the next session of Congress matters of great interest 
were in the minds of the members: was it to be peace or 
war? Jefferson not being a candidate, there were several 
factions, proposing Monroe, Madison, Gallatin and others. 
Macon had joined none of them. Madison was brought for¬ 
ward, with Clinton of New York for the vice-presidency. 
Jefferson’s peace policy was approved by the masses; New 
England, suffering from the embargo, alone did not concur. 
Madison swept the other states, but the embargo was deeply 
felt, while preparation for war was necessarily made. Such 
were the conditions when the Legislature of the State as¬ 
sembled. Stone was elected Governor, his retirement from 
the bench causing a vacancy. Then Judge Spruce McCay 
had died, and although the Governor had given a tem¬ 
porary appointment to Blake Baker, that vacancy was also 
to be filled. 

The former speakers were retained. In the House, Gas¬ 
ton now in his second term, was the member of the first 
consequence. His superiority was evident. The respect 
accorded him was notable. It was not merely his superior 


Benj. 

Williams 

Governor 


The 

presidency 


Stone 

Governor 


Gaston 



206 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


Biog. W.W. 
Seaton, 23 


The 

Republicans 


1808 


Gaston 

Speaker 


intelligence,- but his personality that distinguished him. A 
description of some local theatricals at Raleigh about that 
time runs this way: “There sat the learned, genial Gaston, 
who was equally happy in a sentimental song and convivial 
chorus, or in racy anecdote; unbending from his usual staid 
reserve was Nathaniel Macon, whose name has stood as 
a sort of proverb for honesty, while greater still in'his 
charming gentleness, was the wise, benevolent, Chief Jus¬ 
tice Marshall, who undisguisedly wept over the woes of 
Jane - Shore or laughed with boyish glee until the tears 
fairly rolled down his cheeks.” 

Gaston had the accomplishments as well as the intellect 
and learning. On the floor of the House he was, in ordi¬ 
nary business, largely the ruling spirit. One of his memor¬ 
able achievements was the reform of the laws of descents, 
his report being admirable, but he was not in line with the 
Jeffersonians. The Senate passed resolutions strongly sus¬ 
taining the embargo. In the House, Gaston offered a sub¬ 
stitute, patriotic, but of a different tenor. For several days 
the debate continued. The House stood 79 to 29 against 
Gaston. In the Senate the vote had been 37 to 15. These 
figures well indicated the woeful minority of the Federals 
and the overwhelming attachment of the people to the ad¬ 
ministration. Still, while patriotic ardor ran high, when 
replying to the call for troops, Gen. Benjamin Smith having 
proposed that the State would arm them and furnish ar¬ 
tillery, the House declined, contenting itself with declaring 
that the State’s quota would be ready. 

To succeed the lamented McCay, his brother-in-law, 
Leonard Henderson, likewise a man of distinguished abili¬ 
ties, was elected, and to replace Stone, Joshua G. Wright, the 
Speaker of the House, was chosen. A man of very superior 
excellence in the profession, Wright resigned as a member 
of the House, thinking that the constitutional separation of 
the judicial and legislative departments required his resigna¬ 
tion. Immediately, the members of the House unanimously 



WARLIKE PREPARATIONS 


207 


chose Gaston for Speaker. It was a compliment that re¬ 
flected as much honor on the body as on Gaston. Gaston 
differed from many other men distinguished for high in¬ 
telligence, learning and character, as the diamond differs 
from other gems of great value. 

On March 30, 1808, Congress, in view of the aggressions 
of Great Britain and France, had authorized the President 
to call for a detachment of 100,000 militia, and Governor 
Stone informed the Legislature that the Secretary of War 
had notified him that North Carolina’s quota would be 8,071 
and steps should be taken to officer and equip that force 
for service. 

The State had quite a number of heavy cannon and Gen¬ 
eral Smith was directed to propose to the War Department 
to exchange some of these for brass field pieces. Later 
the War Department declined, saying it had no authority to 
make the exchange. 

Beligious tolerance 

In 1808, Jacob Henry was elected to the House from 
Carteret. He was a Hebrew and did not accept the New 
Testament. It is possible that he was a member of a dis¬ 
tinguished Philadelphia family, Gratz, one of whom, Re¬ 
becca Gratz, somewhat later became the original of Rebecca 
in Ivanhoe. During that session he contracted the ill will 
of another member; and being elected again in 1809, this 
member objected to his qualifying under the Constitution. 
Henry addressed the House in his own behalf, his speech 
being on the general subject of religious tolerance, but he 
laid stress on the legal proposition that the provision of the 
Constitution was not applicable to the Representatives; the 
right of a constituency to choose their representative was 
not to be abridged. On that he won. This speech was so 
superior that for several generations parts of it were em¬ 
bodied in books of elocution used in the academies of the 
country. 



208 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


Noninter¬ 

course 


Macon’s 

attitude 


The Embargo Act was continued in operation until just as 
Jefferson was surrendering his office to Madison, when with 
the sanction of Congress, he substituted for it noninter¬ 
course with Great Britain and France, as these two coun¬ 
tries alone were at the bottom of our commercial troubles; 
and, indeed, presently it was suspended as to Great Britain 
by Madison, but a few months later was renewed. It was 
during this period that Macon participated most largely in 
these important matters. As chairman of the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs, he held a dominating position. He ever 
worked to avoid war, but he could not brook the attitude 
of France and of England. 

By the act interdicting intercourse with Great Britain and 
France passed March i, 1809, both that act and the Embargo 
Act were to cease to operate at the end of the next session 
of Congress. Subjects of such vital interest were left for 
the newly chosen Representatives to consider. 

Congress was called together in May and sat for a month, 
but legislation was deferred until the November session. 
Then Macon demonstrated his statesmanship. His bill ex¬ 
cluded both the ships of war and ships of commerce of 
Great Britain and France from our ports. French and 
English goods were to be brought into this country only in 
American vessels loaded at English and French ports. The 
President was to remove' these restrictions as to either 
country whenever that country repealed its unfriendly reg¬ 
ulations regarding our commerce. The bill was short of 
war and held out the olive branch. It passed the House, 
but in the Senate it was emasculated. When it came back 
to the House Macon denounced the Senate amendments 
as “a total dereliction of national honor, a base submission 
to the oppressions of the belligerents, a disgraceful aban¬ 
donment of our policy of resistance.” The House stood 
with Macon; the Senate would not yield. The bill was 
lost. The House now passed against Macon’s vote an 
act reestablishing intercourse with both countries, but if 



STONE’S RECOMMENDATIONS 


209 


either should repeal its unfriendly regulations, then inter¬ 
course with the other was to be interdicted by proclamation 
of the President. 

Stone’s message 

When the Assembly met in November, Governor Stone in 
a message of extreme verbosity and attenuated composition, 
descanted on almost every phase of state life that could 
claim the attention of the Assembly. He dwelt on the subject 
of education, of schools, of improved roads and inland 
navigation and, in view of the high cost of goods and the 
low value of farm products, he urged that manufacturing 
should be fostered by legislation. And since the case brought 1809 
by Granville’s heirs had been determined in the circuit court 
against the interest of the citizens interested and was on 
appeal to the Supreme Court where he apprehended that the 
decision would be confirmed, he suggested that the State 
should provide a fund to reimburse those who might lose 
their holdings under the State’s title. He called attention 
to the depreciation of the currency through the over-issue of 
bank notes and urged some measures of relief. Later he 
communicated that the line between the State and South 
Carolina had been fixed, subject to ratification by the re¬ 
spective legislatures. 

The press 

While there were annually elections and canvasses with 
speeches on the hustings, the press, then as since, was 
the great medium of disseminating information. 

Hodge, who had presses at several points, died in August, 

1805, and William Boylan, his nephew and partner, con- 1809 
tinued the business, keeping a large book store in Raleigh, 
and, well trained by his competent uncle, proving a worthy 
antagonist of Joseph Gales. Gales, likewise had a book 
store, as he had had in England, and was a publisher of 

books. Among his publications were several editions of a 
14 



210 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


Seaton 

and 

Gales 


National 

Intelligencer 


reprint of Haywood’s Manual, and in 1804 a well-written 
novel, Matilda Berkeley, his wife being the author, giving 
a view of society and high life in England. Gales had 
worn well, and had established himself in the respect and 
confidence of his political friends. In fact he was a leader 
of the Republicans, but one whom they were slow to follow 
in his progressive views. There was a divergence between 
him and Macon as to the functions of government, and the 
politicians in the Assembly adhered to Macon. 

Asserting that every other state had established a state 
bank, Gales had urged North Carolina to establish one, and 
eventually was successful. He was an advocate for home 
manufactures, urging the citizens of Raleigh to build a 
factory, and he offered prizes for the best cloth made in 
the State. He advocated the establishment of an insurance 
company, and strongly favored public improvements. In¬ 
deed, he was ever in line with those who were utilizing 
the instrumentalities of advanced civilization to foster the 
conveniences of life and to promote the prosperity of the 
community. His propositions to abolish imprisonment for 
debt, to establish a penitentiary, and to mitigate the severe 
penal code found a supporter in Governor Smith, who 
urged these measures, but without avail. 

In 1807, W. W. Seaton, a young Virginian of distin¬ 
guished connections, purchased Hodge’s North Carolina 
Journal at Halifax, and turned it into a Republican paper 
with the effect of strengthening the Republican party in 
that section. Two years later he joined at Raleigh Gales, 
whose daughter he married. In the meantime Gales’s son, 
Joseph, had become a partner in the publication of the 
Intelligencer at Washington City; and in October, 1812, 
Seaton joined the younger Gales at Washington; and the 
two Raleigh men, Seaton and Gales, published the National 
Intelligencer that in the decades to come exerted the highest 
power known to the press in this country. 



AMERICAN SHIPPING SUFFERS 


211 


In 1810, Federal papers were printed at Raleigh, Wil¬ 
mington, New Bern, Edenton, and Fayetteville; and at 
Raleigh, New Bern and Elizabeth City were Republican 
papers; while the Star, published by Henderson at Raleigh, 
and the Journal at Halifax, were considered neutral. The 
Federalists had the advantage in the number of publications. 

Macon’s bill 

In Congress, Macon, being averse to war, hoped to avoid 
it. He now brought forward a measure that he thought 
might have a beneficial effect. 

Representative McBryde, from the Moore district, wrote 
July 27, 1810: “We have been engaged for some time 
in the discussion of a commercial bill reported by a com¬ 
mittee of which Mr. Macon was chairman. Its principal 
objects are to repeal the nonintercourse law, to interdict 
the vessels of Great Britain and France from our ports and 
harbors, to confine our vessels to a direct trade, and to 
prohibit the indirect or circular trade. There are nearly 
forty Federal members in the House, of whom only five 
voted for the bill on its second reading. (John Stanly and 
McBryde were among the number.) It was only carried 
by a majority of seventeen. The war men are violently 
opposed to it. They say it is submission. The eastern men 
(who were opposed to any drastic measures) say that 
England will retaliate the measure by corresponding re¬ 
strictions.” So the year wore on, with the country in a dis¬ 
turbed condition, and apprehension of war being in the 
minds of the people. Great Britain and France, holding 
the states in contempt because of our weakness, were 
seizing American ships on the high seas; first and last, 
Great Britain captured over 900, and France over 550. If 
Jefferson had been lenient towards the French, Madison was 
equally undemonstrative against the British. But Ameri¬ 
can spirit was not indifferent. Manhood asserted its sway. 
Still in North Carolina the people followed Macon and 


July, 1810 


Hoyt: 
Murphey, 
I, 35 


Our ships 
taken 




212 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


1810 


Biog. Hist., 
IX, 404 


continued to stand with the administration. At the election 
for Congress in 1808 John Stanly, a Federalist, had beaten 
Blackledge in the New Bern district; but in 1810, Gaston 
being the Federalist candidate, Blackledge regained his 
seat by a majority of 500 votes. 

Smith progressive 

When the Assembly met in November, 1810, Gen. Ben¬ 
jamin Smith was chosen Governor over Stone. At the 
moment, war seemed inevitable. But Governor Smith cen¬ 
tered his thoughts on State affairs and brought forward 
matters of a remedial character for consideration. He 
recommended the adoption of a penitentiary system, and 
appealed for a reform of the too sanguinary code of the 
State; recommended domestic manufactures, and insisted 
that too much attention could not be paid to the all- 
important subject of education. “A certain degree of educa¬ 
tion should be placed within the reach of every child in 
the State. ... I am persuaded,” he said, “that a plan 
may be formed upon economical principles which will extend 
this boon to the poor of every neighborhood, and at an 
expense trifling beyond expectation when compared with the 
incalculable benefits from such a philanthropic system”; and 
he continued to urge the establishment of public schools, 
from public considerations. But as yet the Legislature was 
not ready to break away from the past, and public educa¬ 
tion was a novelty. 

At Washington 

Naturally all eyes were turned on Washington, where the 
great issues were to be decided. Difficult indeed was the 
situation; with England and France disregarding our rights; 
treating our country contemptuously, considering us too 
weak to repel insults; and our counsels divided, a war party 
and peace men not agreeing on measures. 



APPREHENSIONS OF DISTRESS 


213 


In January, 1811, McBryde wrote: “The great point to 
which our attention is turned at present is the bank and a 
nonimportation bill. This measure (the refusal to re¬ 
charter the bank) will be attended by alarming conse¬ 
quences. You can have no idea of the consternation that 
prevails in all the large towns. It is confidently affirmed 
that it will withdraw more than twenty millions of circulat¬ 
ing paper, for some time at least, and that it will, of course, 
bankrupt thousands.” 

As to the nonimportation proposition, he said: “If this 
law passes our produce must sink to nothing. There will 
be no money to buy, and no man can tell who to trust. . . . 
The northern merchants will press immediately for their 
debts. In short, I look for nothing but confusion and 
distress.” 

On the bank question Alston, McBryde, Pearson, Stan¬ 
ford and Stanly stood for rechartering. But in the House 
it failed by a single vote, and in the Senate a similar bill 
failed only by the casting vote of the Vice-President. 

At the next session the Assembly reelected its former 
speaker; but William Hawkins, the Speaker of the House, 
was chosen Governor, and to take his place, the House fol¬ 
lowed the fine example set in 1809. It elected Speaker one 
of the minority, John Steele, the representative of the bor¬ 
ough of Salisbury. Steele was worthy of the honor. 

Governor Hawkins was nearly twenty years the junior 
of General Smith, whom he succeeded, being just thirty-four 
when elected Governor; but he had much practical experi¬ 
ence in affairs. Of him, it has been said, “He was brave 
when bravery was needed, but the ‘small, sweet courtesies 
of life’ shone brightly in his daily intercourse.” 

As the measures in Congress involved the weal or woe 
of the country, party spirit was running high. The drift 
of opinion was for war. Henry Clay of Kentucky had 
served a session in the Senate of 1806; and again in 1810, 
and was now a Representative. He was of the war party, 


Dodd, 269 


1811 


Hawkins 

Governor 


Clay for 
war 



214 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


Car. Fed. 
Rep., Jan 
11 , 1812 


W. R. King 


and was urgent for war with Great Britain. As such he 
was elected Speaker of the House when it met in November, 
i8ii. The current ran against Madison, who was being 
overborne in his peace policy. The Federalists had always 
favored England rather than France, and they were very 
reluctant to break with Great Britain. Their sentiment 
found expression in the Carolina Federal Republican that 
had been established at New Bern in 1809. It was argued 
that war with Great Britain might result in the bombard¬ 
ment of every town on the seacoast. “But, even if in 
mercy, she should not bombard our towns but content her¬ 
self with sweeping every American sail from the ocean and 
blockading all our ports, this would bring on a scene of 
disaster hardly to be described.” 

Nor were the Republican congressmen from the State a 
unit in supporting the administration. But at this session 
a new member, young and virile, appeared in the delegation 
to strengthen the war party, William R. King of Sampson. 
His father was a patriot of the Revolution, a gentleman of 
fortune and character. Educated at the University, trained 
as a lawyer by the eminent William Duffy of Fayetteville, 
and associated with the thoughtful men of the Cape Fear, 
he threw his weight on the side of resisting British aggres¬ 
sion. It was badly needed, for the North Carolina delega¬ 
tion was no longer Republican. Blackledge, Macon, Me- 
shack Franklin, the sterling brother of Senator Franklin, 
stood almost alone when King raised his voice for war. 
Richard Stanford of Person, who had followed Randolph 
in his vagaries, made a strong speech against war, and 
King hotly replied: “Sir, the demon of avarice which be¬ 
numbs every warm emotion of the soul, has not yet gained 
the ascendancy in the South. . . . Sir, I will not yield 

an inch of ground when, by so doing, I destroy an essential 
right of my country, or sap the foundations of that inde¬ 
pendence cemented bv the blood of our fathers. We were 
told by a gentleman from Virginia (Randolph) a few days 



COMMERCE OF STATE PORTS 


215 


since that we have sufficient cause for war. I ask you then, 
why do we hesitate ? Shall we always yield ? The adoption 
of this resolution is the touchstone, by it we rise or fall.” 
He concluded by denouncing the policy of his colleagues, 
“who still advocated compromise and peace.” This was the 
beginning of a career that gave King a high place among 
the most distinguished public men contributed by North 
Carolina to our country. 

The increasing opposition to the administration measures 
made the leaders in the Assembly apprehensive lest Madison 
might lose some votes in the electoral college, and to avert 
that the act of 1802, providing for the election of electors 
by districts, was repealed, and the following Legislature was 
authorized to choose the electors. 

This action was roundly denounced by the Federalists. 
“A sacred privilege has been forcibly torn from the people 
by the arbitrary will of a desperate majority. . . . Thirteen 
years ago such an assumption of power would have produced 
rebellion and bloodshed.” At the spring term of the courts 
some of the grand jurors made presentment of the act as a 
grievance. Iredell County began it, and requested the court 
to order their presentment published; and the court so or¬ 
dered. Then Cumberland, Richmond, Rowan, Pitt, Franklin, 
Greene, Caswell and Montgomery followed suit. And John¬ 
ston, also; but Judge Lowrie declined to order the publi¬ 
cation. Feeling ran high in the State. 

As the embargo and nonintercourse acts did not apply to 
domestic commerce, so the trade of our ports with those 
to the north was not affected. At Wilmington, which was 
the shipping point for produce brought from the interior 
to Fayetteville, it was continued as usual. And so, at New 
Bern and the other sound ports; and about two-thirds of our 
commerce went through Ocracoke. On January 11, 1812, 
the Federal Republican mentions as entering New Bern— 
one vessel from New York, one from Charleston, and two 
from Beaufort, and as clearing, four for New York, one for 


Dodd: Life 
of Macon, 
p. 276 


The grand 
juries 


Commerce 



2l6 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


At 

New Bern 


1812 


Physical 

phenomena 


Charleston, one for Bermuda, and one for Antigua. And 
so it continued. 

In that period, however, to supply salt, works were es¬ 
tablished here and there along the coast. Those on the 
sound near Wilmington proved highly remunerative; and 
notwithstanding some cessation after the war, the product in 
1815 was more than thirty thousand bushels. 

The trade of New Bern was very important, only ex¬ 
ceeded by that of Wilmington, which included the imports 
destined for the back country through Fayetteville. In the 
spring of 1812 corn was selling at New Bern at 40 to 
45 cents; cotton at 10 to 12 cents; flour $7.00 a barrel; 
bacon 10 cents and tobacco 3 cents. And at that time there 
were offered for sale for cash or barter for corn, 54 bags 
of coffee at 16 cents, 18 barrels of Muscavado sugar at 12 
cents; 10 barrels loaf sugar at 21 cents; 20 boxes choco¬ 
late 22 to 30 cents; 10 hogsheads molasses at 58 cents a 
gallon and 2 pipes of cognac brandy at $3.00 a gallon. 
They also had at New Bern a living elephant and a beauti¬ 
ful African leopard; and a piano was offered for sale. 
Often half a dozen vessels arrived during the day, and an 
equal number cleared; chiefly the trade was with New York. 

Preparation 

In February, 1812, in preparation for war, a regiment was 
to be raised in the State, and William Polk, a veteran of the 
Revolution and resident of Raleigh, was appointed colonel 
of the regiment; James Welborn of Wilkes, lieutenant- 
colonel ; A. F. McNeil of Wilmington, second lieutenant- 
colonel; Benjamin White of Craven, first major, and 
Thomas Taylor of Granville, second major. 

The year 1812 opened with ominous signs of war. Often 
had physical phenomena been associated with great human 
events. Three suns seen in the heavens preceded the final 
outbreak that was closed by Charles the First losing his 
head; and three suns were observed one afternoon in North 



SIGNS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH 


2iy 


Carolina just before President Lincoln called for troops in 
April, 1861. 

There was a very severe earthquake on the morning of 
December 23, especially violent towards Charleston; then 
on February 7, 1812, at four in the morning New Bern 
was greatly disturbed by a violent rocking for two minutes; 
and again at eleven that night there was another of nearly 
equal force; and two weeks later Mecklenburg County was 
visited by a disturbance of great violence. 

And it was in January, 1812, that a veracious newspaper 
writer endowed with a fine imagination described with 
great particularity, “great smoke issuing from Spears 
Mountain, great noise; a volcano had burst forth on the 
French Broad; still continues to burn with great violence, 
throwing out lava, etc.,- with most tremendous noise in 
Buncombe,” of which President Jefferson made a historic 
note not complimentary to North Carolina. 

In Congress the question of war was the great issue. 
Speaker Clay was insistent, Madison yielded, and on June 1, 
he sent to Congress a message for war with Great Britain. 
Pennsylvania, a manufacturing state, and the agricultural 
states of the South gave 62 votes for the declaration and 32 
against it. The mercantile states at the North gave 17 for 
the war, and 32 against it. The sentiment of the sections 
was evident; New England was opposed, and not all of 
the Southern Republicans were in favor of the measure. 
The declaration was made by the President on June 19. 

Six months after Hawkins became Governor, on the 
23d of June, an express messenger brought him the in¬ 
formation of the declaration, and his service as Governor 
covered the entire period of the war. After the declaration 
a new issue was brought into discussion in the State. Be¬ 
fore that there had been apprehensions: now war had come. 
Not merely were there the normal differences between the 
Federals and Republicans, the outs and the ins, the war men 
and the peace men, those who favored England and those 


The 

declaration 
of war 


June 

1812 



2l8 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


The Anti- 
Electorals 


DeWitt 

Clinton 


still in rebellion against the old mother country; but there 
was another potent political war cry. The Republicans to 
secure the election of Madison had taken from the people 
their right to vote. The people were disfranchised. By 
the act of December, 1811, the presidential electors were 
to be chosen by the Assembly. Gaston petitioned the Gov¬ 
ernor to convene the Assembly in special session to undo 
this arbitrary evil, but it was too late. The presentments 
made by the grand jurors only voiced the indignation that 
inflamed the popular heart. At the election in August 
James Mebane, the Senator from Orange who had intro¬ 
duced the measure, was opposed by Archibald D. Murphey, 
who now entered on a political career. Murphey was a 
Republican, and still proposed to stand by Madison; but 
he was a leader in the Republican opposition to this meas¬ 
ure, and he had many in cooperation. Most of those who 
had supported the measure in the Assembly were now op- ’ 
posed by “Anti-Electoral’’ Republicans aided by the Fed- 
erals, and fell by the wayside. The result was disastrous to 
them. Many were retired, Mebane was defeated two to 
one. Sixty Federals were elected, among them Gaston, 
Steele, Stanly, and other old-time leaders; but the Repub¬ 
licans still held the Assembly. 

When the Assembly met Hawkins was reelected Gov¬ 
ernor. General Riddick, who had long been Speaker of 
the Senate, had died during the year. He was replaced 
by George Outlaw of Bertie, a gentleman of “great seren¬ 
ity and address,” so endowed as to be ever popular, and he 
was highly esteemed as the Moderator of the Chowan 
Baptist Association; while in the House, William Miller 
of Warren was chosen to preside. George Clinton of New 
York was the Vice-President elected four years earlier 
with Madison; DeWitt Clinton of New York had deserted 
Madison and was taken up by the Federals as their candi¬ 
date for President. In the Legislature the vote for Madi- 



A TRAGEDY OF THE SEA 


219 


son electors was 130; for DeWitt Clinton only 60; the Re¬ 
publicans had more than two to one. 

The Assembly, responsive to the popular demand, how¬ 
ever, by a large majority in both branches passed a reso¬ 
lution to lay off the State into fifteen districts, and likewise 
proposed to Congress an amendment to the Constitution to 
establish a uniform mode of choosing electors by districts, 
and on February 15, 1813, that resolution was being dis¬ 
cussed by the United States Senate; but the better opinion 
of that generation seems to' have been that the organic law 
should not unnecessarily be altered. The Constitution was 
not to be lightly changed. 

David Stone, as a war man, was chosen Senator to suc¬ 
ceed Jesse Franklin, who had defeated him six years earlier, 
although Stone later. declared that he had not desired the 
position. 

A stay law was passed forbidding the issue of executions 
until 1814 in cases where security was given; and it was 
a busy session, there being 129 acts passed. 

Steamboats were now in use at the North. Stevens & Co., 
Stevens having been a former partner of Fulton, were 
engaged in building them and trying to obtain the exclusive 
right to use them on available waters. They applied at this 
session of the Assembly for the exclusive privilege of using 
them in North Carolina. Their application was granted for 
twenty years, “provided they would put on one every two 
years.” That in twenty years would have required ten 
boats, and the condition was not attractive, so it does not 
appear that it was accepted. 

The tragedy of Mrs. Alston 

While the Assembly was in session there occurred a 
horrible murder on our coast. In December, 1812, Aaron 
Burr sent a pilot boat, the Patriot , from New York to 
Charleston to bring his daughter, Theodosia, wife of Gov- 


1813 


The 

aftermath 


Biog. Hist., 
IV, 426 


Steamboats 


1812 




220 


STEPS TOWARD WAR 


ernor Alston of South Carolina (grandson of Gen. John 
Ashe) to New York. 

Timothy Green, an intimate friend of Governor Alston’s 
family, sailed in the pilot boat for the purpose of accom¬ 
panying Mrs. Alston on her voyage. From the time they 
sailed from Charleston December 30, no tidings whatever 
was heard of the vessel or of any one on board. Seven 
years passed before the mystery was cleared up. In the 
Raleigh Register, June 30, 1820, was this announcement: 
“A gentleman recently from New Orleans has communicated 
to a friend of the family of the late Mr. Greene that two 
of the pirates lately sentenced to suffer death at New 
Orleans confessed that they composed part of the crew 
of the above pilot boat, Patriot; that after being at sea 
two or three days, and near the shore, they rose upon the 
captain and passengers, and confined them’ below—when 
they stood close in shore, and after plundering the passengers 
of a considerable sum of money and plate, belonging mostly 
to Mrs. Alston, they launched the boat and scuttled the ves¬ 
sel, which soon filled and went down, with the unfortunate 
inmates confined below. This dreadful tragedy was per¬ 
formed in the dead of night. The wretches succeeded in 
reaching the shore with the boat, and had thus far escaped 
detection and punishment for this horrible crime.” 

In 1820, and earlier and later, there were many trials for 
piracy at New Orleans. Pirates infested the Gulf of Mex¬ 
ico. These men mentioned above were taken as pirates for 
deeds then recently committed and, after conviction, told 
of the murder of Mrs. Alston. Of her death they perhaps 
would never have known had they not had personal knowl¬ 
edge. Before that she was supposed to have perished in 
some other way. The story bears the earmarks of truth. 

Fifty years later, in 1869, Dr. William G. Pool at¬ 
tended a sick woman at Kitty Hawk on the banks near Nags 
Head, and in compensation for his services she gave him 
a painting then hanging in her room. It was the picture of 



MEMENTO OF TRAGEDY 


221 


a lady on polished mahogany, twelve inches in length and 
enclosed in a frame richly gilded. With reluctance she said 
that many years before a vessel with sails set had been 
wrecked on the beach, no person being aboard, and that 
some one who found this picture in the cabin had preserved 
it. A photograph of this picture was submitted to Mrs. 
Wheeler, the wife of Col. John H. Wheeler, the historian, 
who on comparing it with a miniature of Theodosia Burr, 
found them so similar that she, a daughter of Sully, and 
herself an artist, recognized it as a portrait of Mrs. Alston. 


Pool, Lit. on 

Albemarle, 

66 



CHAPTER XV 


1813 


The War Opens 

The militia.—Military conditions.—The Stanly-Henry duel.— 
The British fleet arrives in Chesapeake.—The Snap Dragon.— 
The first prize.—Judge Harris dies.—Federal leaders.—Gaston’s 
position.—The Federalists gain.—Macon inconsistent.—Davie de¬ 
clines to serve.—Beaufort blockaded.—New Bern alarmed.— 
The British at Ocracoke.—Preparations for defense.—The militia. 
—At Raleigh.—The ladies active.—General Jones.—Governor 
Hawkins—Great activity.—Munitions supplied—Beaufort garri¬ 
soned, Wilmington and all the country stirred.—The fleet sails 
away.—The enterprise of the people.—The Clarendon Steamboat 
Company.—Stages to Portsmouth.—Lincoln’s cotton mill and iron 
manufactures.—Gaston’s speech.—Conditions.—The Frolic and 
the Wasp.—Coast defenses.—The Snap Dragon.—Blakely.—The 
Wasp.—Reverses on land.—The Federals exult.—Chippewa.— 
Lundy’s Lane.—Benjamin Forsyth.—The State adopts his son 
and Ulna Blakely.—Fort Mimms.—General Graham.—North Caro¬ 
lina troops at Norfolk.—The British fleet.—Stone’s retirement. 
—Miller Governor, Cameron Judge, and Locke elected Senator. 

The militia 

For military purposes each county was divided into militia 
districts, every district having its own militia company, 
which with the Others formed the county regiment. The 
regiments of several adjoining counties formed a brigade. 
The Legislature elected the generals and field officers and 
the organization, supervised by the Adjutant-General, was 
carefully kept up. Besides there were in many counties 
organized and disciplined military companies, generally 
cavalry, ready for active service on emergency. The militia 
companies and regiments were required by law to meet and 
muster every year. The militia districts were the only 
units of county organization. So when the committees of 
safety were to be chosen on the outbreak of the Revolu¬ 
tion, they were elected by military districts. On muster 
days all persons liable to military service had to meet, be 
enrolled and muster. General Davie wrote a volume on 
military tactics, which was adopted and in use and doubt- 


MILITIA ORGANIZED 


223 


less at the musters there was drilling, so that the militia had 
some slight acquaintance with military discipline and com¬ 
mands. The militia therefore was in some measure an or¬ 
ganized military force. It is to be mentioned that the free 
negroes were required to attend musters until relieved of 
that duty. On different occasions because of threatened 
negro insurrections, the militia of several counties were 
called out. When the tocsin of war sounded in 1812 the 
militia regiments of several counties were embodied and 
saw active service. 

Conditions for defense 

After the war fever of 1798 had subsided but little had 
been done to improve the fortifications on the coast, but 
when the irritation with France and England became pro¬ 
nounced the militia was organized; and General Smith, who 
had a large number of negroes, entered in 1805 into a 
contract with the government to erect a sepia stone case¬ 
mate fort on the site of the old Fort Johnston, under the di¬ 
rection of army engineers. The fort in 1805 was under 
the command of Lieut. John Fergus of Bladen County, 
and in that year Capt. Joseph Gardner Swift, the first grad¬ 
uate of West Point, was sent to have the fortifications com- 

* 

pleted. Other points also had received some attention; 
the militia had been organized by Adjt. Gen. Edward 
Pasteur of New Bern; and on his resignation in June, 1808, 

Calvin Jones of Wake County became Adjutant General and 
addressed himself to his duties with zeal and energy, and 
he continued this acceptable service until the war opened 
in 1812. In December of that year he was commissioned 
Major-General, having under him the 5th and 17th brigades, December 
covering eight counties assigned to the Edgecombe and 1812 
Wake brigades. Now, although North Carolina was not 
then invaded, there was a call for volunteers. There were 
51,000 militia men on the roll, but only 7,000 were asked 
for, the President to supply them with arms. Volunteers 



224 


THE WAR OPENS 


were being organized into detachments to respond to orders, 
and volunteer companies were forming in every county. In 
the meantime Fort Johnston had been garrisoned by a 
company of the First Regiment of U. S. Artillery. 


Biog. Hist., 
II, 165 


The British 
arrive 


Henry duel 

About the middle of February, 1813, New Bern was in 
the shadow of grief cast over the community by the trag¬ 
ical ending of an unimportant incident. Thomas Stanly and 
Lewis Henry had been classmates at college, long friends 
and intimates, and now law students at New Bern. At a 
supper given by Gaston, Stanly playfully tossed a morsel of 
cake across the table which, falling in Henry’s cup of tea, 
splashed his vest. A lady at Henry’s side made a remark 
that aggravated the incident. An insult was suggested; a 
hasty reply given and a challenge followed. Young Stanly 
consulted his elder brother, Hon. John Stanly, who advised 
the meeting. The meeting took place on Sunday, Feb¬ 
ruary 14, within the border of Virginia. At the first dis¬ 
charge, Stanly was instantly killed. He was in his 23d 
year and was just about to apply for admission to the bar. 
Certainly the affair should be attributed to John Stanly who 
himself had killed Spaight.. After Stanly had fallen every 
measure was taken which humanity or friendship could 
dictate. Up to the day of his death, this tragedy was ever a 
blight on Henry’s peace of mind. While New Bern was 
agitated over this lamentable affair came the disquieting 
news that the apprehensions of the Federalist leaders were 
not without foundation. A British fleet entered the capes 
and anchored in Lynnhaven Bay. There were about a dozen 
ships of war. The cruisers had taken quite a fleet of mer¬ 
chantmen in Chesapeake Bay, and among them several New 
Bern vessels bound to New York. 

But New Bern was not without reprisals. 



EXPLOITS OF A PRIVATEER 


22 5 


Snap Dragon 

The merchants of New Bern, always as enterprising as 
they were patriotic, had in the Revolution successfully 
preyed on British commerce, much to their advantage. 
Now, no sooner had war been declared than Otway Burns, 
a native of Beaufort and captain of a merchantman plying 
between New Bern and Portland, Maine, arranged through 
a joint stock company for the purchase of a larger and 
swifter vessel, which he fully equipped as a privateer and 
took out letters and began operations. He sailed down 
into the Spanish Main, and took several small prizes and 
towards the end of February, 1813, while the British fleet 
was at Lynnhaven Bay, there entered New Bern the sloop 
Fillis —Miller prize-master, a prize to the privateer schooner 
Snap Dragon, taken the 18th of January in the Caribbean 
Sea. The Snap Dragon was bound to Carthagena to victual 
for another cruise, “all well and good spirits aboard." And 
then on April 10, 1813, the Snap Dragon itself came to 
New Bern, Edward Pasteur being the master. 

On Monday, March 29, Judge Edward Harris of New 
Bern died in the court at Lumberton. In 1801 he had 
served for one month as the circuit judge of the United 
States, then in 1811 on the death of the lamented Joshua G. 
Wright, judge of the Superior Court, he had been ap¬ 
pointed to that vacancy. “It seems that he left home under 
the impression that he would not survive the circuit, and a 
complete suit of burial clothes was found in his trunk.” 
At that period the judges and attorneys, for the want of 
other conveyances, traveled in their own gigs, that being 
before the introduction of buggies. 

Notwithstanding the declaration of war and the call of the 
country to arms, the Federalist leaders were active against 
the administration. Congress was to convene early in May 
and Governor Hawkins issued a proclamation ordering the 
election of Representatives to be held on the 30th of April 
15 


February 

1813 


1813 


Fed. Rep., 
Feb. 27, 
1813 


Death of 

Judge 

Harris 


Hoyt: 
Murphey, 
I, 68 


Congression¬ 
al election 



226 


THE WAR OPENS 


Gaston’s 

victory 


instead of waiting until August. Gaston’s position may be 
taken as that of all the Federalist candidates. “Convinced 
that we had well-founded causes of complaint against each 
of the great belligerents of Europe, I nevertheless could 
not but view the selection of Great Britain for our enemy, 
while the relations of friendship were courted with France, 
as an act of extravagance and rashness, astonishing and 
unaccountable. It is forbidden by our interests. From 
the honor and fair character of the nation, nothing could 
be more abhorrent. If the declaration of war is to be la¬ 
mented, there is little consolation to be found in the manner 
of its prosecution. I avow myself the earnest and anxious 
friend of peace. The difference between the United States 
and our enemy is now understood to be confined to a single 
point, the right of search for British seamen. I will not 
as a man and, as a Christian, I dare not, yield my consent 
to shed blood or waste the treasure of my countrymen upon 
an abstract question of doubtful right. At whatever risque 
or cost, I am prepared to protect my country and every sec¬ 
tion of it from attack, but I am not disposed to aid in 
schemes of foreign conquests,” etc. At the election, Black- 
ledge who, however, did not canvass, received only 943 
votes, while Gaston received 2,763, nearly five hundred 
more than two years before, when he was beaten by five 
hundred. In the Fayetteville district Rev. John Culpepper, 
a Baptist minister, was elected over J. A. Cameron, both 
Federals, while D. M. McFarland received the smallest vote. 
Stanford, who had been a Republican, defeated Mebane, 
who had introduced the bill taking from the people their 
right to vote for electors, Stanford being against the war 
and the war measures. William Kennedy, Federalist of 
Tarboro, was elected by a very small majority. On the 
whole, the Republicans held their own fairly well, but Mr. 
Macon now began what appears to be an inconsistent 
course, not supporting the war measures himself, and setting 
an example that some of his friends followed. 




HOSTILITIES 


227 


In March, 1813, the President appointed to be major 
generals in the United States army, W. R. Davie and Wade 
Hampton, and these appointments were immediately con¬ 
firmed by the Senate; but Davie did not accept and re¬ 
mained at his home on the Catawba. 

Hostilities 

During Jefferson’s administration the construction of a 
large number of small gunboats had been authorized and 
there were several of these at Wilmington out of commis¬ 
sion; at New Bern there was at least one, named “No. 150.” 
Early in May a rumor came from Beaufort that Beaufort 
was blockaded by two British schooners, and May 21 the 
•specie in the vaults of the New Bern branch of the Bank of 
the State was removed in two wagons to Raleigh. “Since 
the blockade of the Chesapeake,” said the Federal Repub¬ 
lican, “several vessels whose destination was the bay, have 
come into Ocracoke or Beaufort, and have dispatched their 
cargoes to Norfolk through the canal. . . . Beaufort 

has a reasonable protection from its fort; Ocracoke has only 
its shoal water, the revenue cutter and the militia. On May 
21 a schooner arrived off" Ocracoke and was intent on sur¬ 
prising the cutter, but failed. ... On June 1 the 
British armed schooner High-flyer was seen off the bar of 
Beaufort, and Captain Burns sailed immediately with the 
Snap Dragon 'and a noble crew’ for Beaufort. Should the 
Snap Dragon be so fortunate as to fall in with High-flyer, 
we have no doubt of her success.” 

The proximity of the British fleet and the possibility of 
attack had now been for four months in the minds of the 
people on the seacoast. They had become accustomed to the 
situation; when suddenly unheralded, at daybreak on the 
12th of July a fleet of nine ships, among them two brigs and 
two schooners, anchored off Ocracoke bar, and nineteen 
barges each carrying an 18 pounder carronade and forty 


Davie 

declines 


At 

New Bern 


July 

1813 



228 


THE WAR OPENS 


Alarm at 
New Bern 


At Raleigh 


men came inside the bar. In the channel lav in fancied 

• j 

security the privateers Anaconda and the Atlas, and the 
revenue cutter, not so well armed. The barges at once at¬ 
tacked the two armed vessels, and after a spirited resistance 
took them, but the greater part of the crews escaped to the 
shore. The revenue cutter made sail. It was the expecta¬ 
tion of the British admiral to seize all the vessels and pro¬ 
ceed at once to capture New Bern; but although the two 
brigs and two schooners came inside and pursuit was made, 
the cutter was successful in making her escape, and reached 
New Bern. There the inhabitants realized the peril. There 
were bustling preparations for battle, and the flight of the 
women and children ensued. A committee of safety was 
appointed to aid the militia officers in preparing for defense. 
Heavy cannon were mounted and breastworks were erected 
at different points in the town, and ammunition was col¬ 
lected from the county, and from Washington and Beau¬ 
fort. The militia from the adjoining counties flocked in in 
great numbers. In a few hours 2,000 men were collecting. 

Altogether the British had some thirty barges, arid it was 
reported that they had landed a thousand men at Ports¬ 
mouth and Ocracoke. They collected hundreds of cattle 
and sheep which they sent off to the Chesapeake. But 
foiled in their hope of surprising New Bern, they made no 
further invasion. 

On the 16th, four days after the British landing, the news 
reached Raleigh. On Sunday, the 18th, Gen. Calvin Jones 
with his aides and Captain Clark’s Company of Raleigh 
Guards, took the road for New Bern. The ladies of Ra¬ 
leigh were helpful in preparing them for the hasty march, in 
a few hours making for them 100 knapsacks. The next 
morning, Governor Hawkins, along with Gen. Robert Wil- 
Hams and Major Thomas Henderson, also hurried on, ac¬ 
companied by Captain Hawkins’s troop of cavalry. The 
Governor had lost no time in making requisitions from the 
eastern counties for troops, and on Wednesday Colonel 



DEFENSE OF NEW BERN 


229 


Roper and Maj. Daniel L. Barringer led a hundred men 
from Wake County to the front. The response to the call 
to arms was quick. Detachments were now hurrying from 
the interior to the sea coast, great activity pervaded the 
country. The supply of munitions was limited. All the 
powder and lead that could be found at Raleigh, Hillsboro 
and Fayetteville and other places were collected. There 
were some arms at Wilmington, and a part of these were 
sent to New Bern. While the Governor had the purpose to 
be in the front line of battle himself, he conferred the com¬ 
mand of the sea coast on Gen. Calvin Jones. General Jones 
reached New Bern in two days and, fearing lest Beaufort 
might be attacked, he sent a large detachment to garrison the 
fortifications there, consisting of Fort Hampton, Fort Gas¬ 
ton and Fort Pigott. 

While these preparations were made at New Bern, other 
detachments had hurried to Wilmington. There similar 
efforts were in progress to withstand the invader. Indeed, 
a gale of patriotic ardor swept throughout the whole State, 
and the people in unison were responding to their country’s 
call; but unknown to them, the danger had faded away. 
After five days passed harmlessly at Ocracoke, the hostile 
fleet bore away to the southward, and except for a flag of 
truce sent back to Ocracoke with a notice that the entire 
coast was declared in blockade, the doughty Admiral Cock- 
burn troubled the State no more. However, a period of 
uncertainty intervened, and for a month Governor Hawkins 
was visiting the fortifications along the coast, and General 
Jones was watching with vigilance for the return of the 
enemy. 

Enterprise of the people 

But the alarms of war did not stifle the enterprise of the 
people. On June 6, 1813, the Clarendon Steamboat Com¬ 
pany was formed for the Cape Fear River. In a few 


The State 
aroused 


June 

1813 



230 


THE WAR OPENS 


Steamboat 


Iron mills 


Biog. Hist., 
IV, 310-311 


1813 


Gaston’s 

attitude 


hours $12,000 was subscribed at Wilmington and $10,000 
at Fayetteville; and farther northward a line of stages was 
put on from Elizabeth City to Portsmouth, Va., yet the 
Public Safety Committee at Wilmington presented a me¬ 
morial to the Governor urging preparations for defense, 
and the Governor appointed John H. Bryan Quartermaster- 
General and Gabriel Holmes, Inspector-General of the de¬ 
tached militia of the State. 

The first cotton mill 

Lincoln County has the distinction of starting up the 
first cotton mill that was successful south of the Potomac 
and it also was early in iron manufacture. John Fulen- 
wider, an educated engineer of Wales, having located in 
Lincoln County, began there the development of the iron 
industry, erecting furnaces and rolling mills and operating 
the first nail machine ever used in America. During the 
war of 1812-14 he supplied cannon balls for the use of the 
army. In the same vicinity John Hoke, associated with a 
neighbor, Michael Schenck, erected in 1813 the first cotton 
mill and operated it successfully, and it was continued by 
their families until the War Between the States. Among 
the descendants of John Hoke were Michael Hoke, General 
Hoke and Chief Justice Hoke. 

While perils were threatening New Bern, Hannah Gaston, 
the wife of William Gaston, died on July 13, leaving several 
infant children, but Gaston was at his post at Washing¬ 
ton. Speaking on Webster’s resolution on July 19, he said: 
‘‘It will not be deemed egotism, I trust, to add that bap¬ 
tised an American in the blood of a murdered father; 
bound to my native land by every moral and natural tie that 
can fasten on the heart of man ; with not one motive of in¬ 
terest, of passion, or prejudice to seduce the loyalty of my 
affections; never can I separate myself from the cause of 
my country, however that cause may have been betrayed by 
those to whose care it was confided.” 



s s i r g ” - .... . .. ....."" « ■■ »»«■ . .. —li a a 



1. The Fries Cotton Mill at Salem 

2. Michael Schenck-Hoke Cotton Mill at Lincolnton, 1813 

3. Spinning Wheel and Loom 


0 0 l* "" . i" 7i hi ~.i~..- Q (T) 























































































WASP AND FROLIC 


231 


The year 1814 opened with the war still flagrant. The 
British fleet had possession of the Chesapeake Bay and 
threatened every point on the coast. Still the situation did 
not interrupt the accustomed life of the people. In 
February the stay law expired, and no hardships seemed to 
result. The academies that dotted nearly every county in 
the State were not closed. An orphan asylum had been 
organized at Fayetteville and the North Carolina Bible So¬ 
ciety formed. In Lenoir County a military and literary 
society had been incorporated, and Thespian associations 
organized at Salisbury, Raleigh, and Fayetteville, and at 
Wilmington the Thalian Society that continued its existence 
many years. But the war had its incidents. In October, 
1812, just off the coast of North Carolina an engagement 
took place between'the British ship Frolic and the American 
sloop Wasp. The battle was so fierce that when the Ameri¬ 
can captors boarded the Frolic to haul down the British 
flag, .they found no one on deck but the helmsman; the sur¬ 
vivors had retired below. Preparations were made along 
the coast for defense. At Wilmington a committee of 
safety of which Robert Cochran was president, with the 
concurrence of the military authorities and Governor Haw¬ 
kins, purchased Clark’s Island, four miles below the town, 
taking title to the Governor of the State, and erecting forti¬ 
fications on it at a cost of over two thousand dollars. After 
the war the Legislature directed the Governor to convey 
the title to Cochran in trust to repay the persons who 
originally furnished the funds expended. On the land, 
generally, the military operations had been unfortunate and 
inglorious, but notwithstanding Mr. Macon’s aversion to 
naval operations, on the sea it was otherwise. The flag 
was often borne to glorious victory. In these glories North 
Carolina had her share. 


1814 


Social 

conditions 


The Wasp 
takes the 
Frolic 



232 


THE WAR OPENS 


The Snap 
Dragon 


Johnson 

Blakely 


June, 1814 


On the sea 

Otway Burns made application for letters of marque 
dated July i, 1813, specifying that the Snap Dragon was 
147 tons, carried a crew of 75 men, 5 carriage guns and 50 
muskets. In a subsequent voyage he carried 127 men. 
She ranged from Newfoundland to South America. Dur¬ 
ing the first seven months of 1814 she captured 2 barks, 
5 brigs, and 3 schooners, the cargoes being valued at one 
million dollars; and she took 250 prisoners. But at length 
Captain Burns being laid up, the commission was given to 
Lieutenant DeWhaley, who in an encounter with the British 
man of war Leopard was with many of the crew slain and 
the vessel surrendered. The Snap Dragon was conveyed to 
England and the crew confined in Dartmoor prison. 

Another naval officer of great renown was Capt. John¬ 
son Blakely. Born in Ireland, his father had brought him 
to Wilmington while a boy. His parents having died, and 
he having inherited some means, he was brought into court 

to select a guardian. He selected his father’s friend, Col. 

, « 

Edward Jones, himself an Irishman, the distinguished 
Attorney-General of the State. Colonel Jones had him 
well educated at Flatbush, Long Island, and at the Univer¬ 
sity, and in 1800 secured his appointment in the naval 
service. He served in an expedition against the Barbary 
States and became an officer of recognized merit. Com¬ 
manding the Wasp in Tune, 1814, he appeared off the coast 
of England and in a fierce engagement captured the British 
sloop of war Reindeer. Burning his prize, in August he 
fell in with the ship Avon, which he captured, but he was 
driven off by the near approach of several other men of war. 
He then, in two weeks, took fifteen British vessels. On one 
of these prizes, he placed a crew and sent dispatches home, 
which came safely, but that was the last known of the 
Wasp. The gallant Blakely and his crew perished at sea. 
In November the private armed schooner Saratoga arrived at 




TIDE OF WAR TURNS 


233 


Wilmington from a cruise in the British Channel, and 
brought papers with accounts of the battle between the 
Wasp and Avon. The London papers made great com¬ 
plaints of the injury suffered from American privateers, 
“which are so audacious as to take British vessels and prop¬ 
erty at their very doors.” 

Failures on land 

The campaign at the northwest had never been satisfac¬ 
torily conducted. General after general in that region had 
ignominiously failed. It was during that period of despond¬ 
ency that Archibald Murphey wrote: “I pray God to give 
us peace, and save us from further disgrace. We shall get 
out of the war loaded with debt and taxes, defeat and dis¬ 
grace.” And some of the people became dispirited. The 
war spirit gave place to peace sentiment. Opposition to 
the administration strongly developed. Indeed, the Fed¬ 
erate in North Carolina were exulting in their hopes and 
eagerly dispatched the news northward. Yancey at Wash¬ 
ington wrote to Ruffin: “The Federals here are in fine 
spirits from the information they have received from their 
friends in our State. They expect the whole State with 
the exception of one or two members will be Federal.” At 
length, however, in General Brown a more fortunate cam¬ 
paigner was found. Early in July, 1814, he brought on 
the battle of Chippewa, routing the British, and, after other 
advantageous movements, the battle of Lundy’s Lane, 
within half a mile of Niagara Falls. Few encounters have 
ever been more sanguinary. Both sides retired from the 
field satisfied with the slaughter, but the tide was turned. 
Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott was the hero of the campaign. 
General Swift, in his History of New York, however, 
awards the credit of that campaign to Capt. William Mc- 
Ree of the Engineers, who, it was said, planned the details. 
Captain McRee was of the Bladen and New Hanover 
family, distinguished in several generations for intellectu¬ 
ality and manhood as for high personal character. 


July, 1814 


McRee 









234 


THE WAR OPENS 


Niles 
Reporter, 
July 16, 
1814 


Biog. Hist., 
VII, 102 


Ulna 

Blakely 


Another North Carolina army officer won fame, Benjamin 
Forsyth of Stokes County. In 1809, having received a 
commission as captain in the army, he was assigned to the 
command of a company in the Rifle Regiment and was 
serving at the north in 1812. In September, 1812, he em¬ 
barked with 100 men at Cape Vincent on the St. Lawrence 
and fell down the river to Leeds, and destroyed the British 
storehouse there and successfully returned, bringing a large 
supply of captured military stores. In the following Feb¬ 
ruary, with two hundred men in ships, he left Ogdensburg 
and proceeded up the river and, crossing over to Elizabeth¬ 
town, took 52 prisoners and a considerable quantity of 
munitions, without the loss of a man. After various other 
encounters he was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel, but un¬ 
happily fell in a skirmish near Odeltown. A plan had been 
devised to draw the British into an ambuscade. Forsyth 
was directed to attack and retreat, and thus draw the 
enemy on, but in the encounter he fell, the only man in his 
command who was killed. “He was a terror to the enemy, 
and among the best partisan officers who ever lived.” He 
left a son and four daughters. The Legislature directed 
that the son, James* N. Forsyth, should be educated at the 
expense of the State and be presented with a sword. Later 
he became a midshipman, and unhappily he perished at 
sea in the wreck of the Hornet in 1829 before he was 
twenty-one years of age. The county of Forsyth was in 
1849 named in honor of Col. Benjamin Forsyth. And sim¬ 
ilarly, the Legislature which had during his life directed 
a sword to be presented to Blakely, now made another pro¬ 
vision ; the gallant seaman had left only one child, a daugh¬ 
ter, L T lna; she too was adopted by the State; an appropria¬ 
tion was made for her education, and, in lieu of the sword, 
a set of silver plate was presented to her. She went with 
her mother to St. Croix in the West Indies, where she mar¬ 
ried ; but soon after died. 



JACKSON DEFEATS INDIANS 


235 


The Indians 

The Indians had been stirred up by a fanatical prophet, 
Tecumseh, who was killed in the great battle of Chip¬ 
pewa; and the Cherokees and Creeks in Alabama and Geor¬ 
gia now began hostilities, and the settlers, many from North 
Carolina, took refuge in Fort Minims, on the Chattahoochee 
River. The Indians having succeeded in taking this fort, 
where there were 553 whites, massacred them, only five 
or six escaping. This aroused the whole southern country 
to action while the whites virtually abandoned Alabama. 
The militia of Tennessee and Georgia and Louisiana and 
Mississippi hurried forward. Andrew Jackson, a general 
of militia in Tennessee, hastened to the scene and a thousand 
North Carolinians from the western counties, under Gen. 
Joseph Graham, rushed to his assistance. Jackson, how¬ 
ever, had defeated the Indians in a great battle at Horse 
Shoe Bend before Graham reached him, but Graham’s North 
Carolinians assisted in capturing those who were still in 
arms. Jackson was quickly appointed Major General in the 
army of the United States and given command at the South. 
It was the beginning of his phenomenal career. 

The Albemarle militia goes to Norfolk 

Norfolk being again threatened in the fall of 1814, the 
President made a requisition on North Carolina for a de¬ 
tachment of militia to be mustered into the service of the 
United States and to hold Norfolk. Some fifteen hundred 
of the militia were concentrated at Gates Courthouse. They 
were from the Albemarle district, including the counties of 
Halifax, Warren and Nash. Gen. Calvin Jones was the 
quartermaster. The detachment assembled at Gates Court¬ 
house towards the end of September and, under the com¬ 
mand of Gen. Jeremiah Slade and unarmed, marched in 
detachments to Norfolk, where they were mustered into 
the service of the United States. There they remained for 


Fort Minims 


Graham’s 

army 


Andrew 

Jackson 


1813 


Winborne: 
county of 
Hertford 



236 


THE WAR OPENS 


Ruffin, 
I, 154 


Allen: Hist, 
of Halifax, 
71 

Andrew 

Joyner 


weeks, ready and waiting for the enemy. They were spec¬ 
tators of the battle of Craney Island, where the British fleet 
was driven back. They were not entirely disbanded until 
the treaty of peace. 

The second regiment 

In addition to the first regiment that marched from Gates 
Courthouse to Norfolk, a second regiment was organized 
at Hillsboro, November 28, 1814, composed of companies 
from Chatham, Person, Caswell, Rockingham, Guilford, 
Randolph, Stokes, Surry and Wilkes, of which Col. Richard 
Atkinson of Person was the lieutenant-colonel commanding, 
and James Campbell was first major. This new regiment 
reached Norfolk on December 27. The troops were pro¬ 
vided with thin tents and it was some weeks before they 
were housed, and they suffered from the irregularity with 
which they were supplied with wood and other necessaries. 
These troops fell victims to disease. “At the Peach Orchard 
where the first regiment was stationed, there were 61 deaths 
by December 7, but in the second regiment while 276 
were on the sick list, only 8 had so far died." The second 
regiment was at camp about a mile out of the city. Captain 
Young’s company was stationed at Craney Island. 

After the capture of Washington City and the repulse of 
the British at Baltimore, the British admiral apparently pro¬ 
posed the capture of Norfolk, but when he was ready, he 
found the Americans also ready. He entered Elizabeth 
River, opened a bombardment on Craney Island, but being 
repulsed, sailed away. 

The North Carolina troops soon afterwards returned to 
the State. While the troops suffered from the dreadful 
sickness which carried off so many of the First Regiment, 
Hiey lost none in battle. 



SENATOR STONE UNDER FIRE 237 


Stone's retirement 

Now occurred the tragic ending of a career that had been 
exceptionally brilliant. Perhaps no other native had been 
so favored by fortune as David Stone. In December, 1812, 
he had been elected the second time as United States Senator 
and necessarily he was expected to support the war meas¬ 
ures of the administration, a course, however, he declined to 
follow. He seems to have fallen under the influence of 
Massachusetts's disloyal leadership, and when the Assembly 
met in November, 1813, so shocked and outraged were the 
Republican members of the body, that resolutions were in¬ 
troduced reciting the several tergiversations imputed to 
him; that he had voted against the direct tax to support the 
war, against the embargo, against prohibiting illicit inter¬ 
course and correspondence by the British Tories with the 
Indian enemies under British dominance, and against the 
appointment of Gallatin as Ambassador to Russia. 

Senator Stone attended at Raleigh, and he later asserted 
that his purpose was to resign and retire to private life, but 
he found so much excitement prevailing that it forbade him 
from entrusting the Assembly with the election of a new 
Senator, so he held on. A joint committee of the two 
houses on December 13, 1813, brought in a report stating isi 3 
his defection from the administration, although elected as 
a supporter of the war, and closing with the resolution: 

“That the said David Stone hath disappointed the reasonable 
expectations and incurred the disapprobation of this Gen¬ 
eral Assembly.” This resolution was adopted by a small 
majority in each house. Fourteen Senators protested Bi HUt 
against it, among them Archibald D. Murphey, and in the IV> 422 
House 42 protested, among them Duncan Cameron, James 
Iredell, Maurice Moore, Paul Barringer and William Boy- 
lan. The line between the Republicans and Federalists was 
drawn. The Federalists in the State were following Massa¬ 
chusetts. When the Legislature was about to meet in 



238 


THE WAR OPENS 


1814 


Death of 
Stone 


Hoyt: 
Murphey, 
I, 77 


November, 1814, Senator Stone placed his resignation in the 
hands of Governor Hawkins, who laid it before the House 
on December 5. Thus ended a phenomenal career. Gov¬ 
ernor Stone retired to a farm in the vicinity of Raleigh, and 
four years later died there at the age of 44 years. 

When the Assembly met in November, 1814, there were 
several vacant positions open to the ambitious. Judge 
Locke, after ten years service, had resigned from the bench 
and Duncan Cameron had been appointed by the Governor 
to fill the vacancy; now the Legislature was to elect. Gov¬ 
ernor Hawkins’s term had expired and a new Governor 
was to be chosen. And Senator Stone had at last resigned 
in a dramatic way. 

The usual custom of elections was now varied. The houses 
having chosen their former speakers, agreed to ballot foi 
a judge, but before the voting began, the proposition was 
reconsidered and a caucus was held. Then a ^sub-caucus” 
was held, at which it was agreed to elect Miller Governor, 
and James Mebane Senator. Later, since Outlaw wished 
to be Governor, in the interest of Miller it was proposed to 
substitute Outlaw for Mebane in the Senate, but the caucus 
was not strong enough. Cameron was elected judge, and 
Locke U. S. Senator; Miller, however, won the Governor’s 
office. The first ballot stood, .Miller 95, Outlaw 10, and 
Col. William Polk, a Federalist, 83. There was some inad¬ 
vertence in the count, and it was held “no election.” Mur¬ 
phey, a Senator, wrote that if the election had been post¬ 
poned a day, Outlaw would have been chosen, but for him¬ 
self, he could not vote for either of them. And singularly 
enough, while Francis Locke was elected U. S Senator, he 
never qualified. The seat remained vacant. 



CHAPTER XVI 


The Hartford Convention 

1815 

The Hartford Convention.—The Federal party falls into odium. 

—The victory at New Orleans.—The Treaty of Peace.—Republi¬ 
cans in ascendancy.—The poor conditions in the State.—Emi¬ 
gration.—The Quakers.—No free schools.—Governor Miller’s mes¬ 
sage.—Murphey’s reports.—The Legislature acts.—The Statue of 
Washington.—Macon Senator, Gaston in the House.—The Coloni¬ 
zation Society.—Branch Governor.—Internal Improvements.— 

The New Bern Steamboat Company.—Public instruction.—Mur¬ 
phey’s plan.—Inland navigation.—Financial conditions.—The 
Cherokee lands acquired.—Yadkin canal.—The penitentiary. 


> ew England holds a convention 


The war in Europe had ceased with the battle of Waterloo 
and Great Britain’s hands were now free to conquer Amer¬ 
ica. Our peace commissioners had met those of Great 
Britain, but our haughty foe sought to impose dishonorable 
terms as if she had already won the war. When these re¬ 
quirements were communicated to Congress and made public 
a wave of indignation and of patriotic ardor swept over 
the country, except alone in New England; there disloyalty 
prevailed. In 1814 the Legislature of Massachusetts rec¬ 
ommended that a convention of delegates from the New 
England States should be held, and at once set the example 
of appointing twelve delegates. The Legislatures of Rhode 
Island and Connecticut followed by appointing their dele¬ 
gates, but Vermont and New Hampshire did not concur. 
On November 24, 1814, Murphey wrote to Ruffin: “I be¬ 
lieve the government is on the brink of dissolution. New 
England is determined on her course and I see nothing 
that can arrest it. Augur no good from the votes of New 
Hampshire and Vermont. All the northern states will con¬ 
federate and, having amended the Constitution, leave it 
to us to unite with them or not. My spirits are depressed. 
I see nothing but ruin and confusion before us.” 


1814 


Hoyt: 
Murphey 
Papers, I, 76 


240 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


The New England Convention met at Hartford on De j 
cember 15. There were twenty-six delegates in attendance, 
among them one from Vermont and two from New Hamp¬ 
shire. They sat with closed doors, their proceedings being 
veiled in secrecy. On January 4, 1815, they published a 
report recommending seven amendments to the Constitution; 
that representation should be based on the white population; 
that the President should not be elected from the same state 
two terms in succession; and, further, that the legislatures, 
of the states represented in the Convention should adopt 
measures to protect their citizens from certain acts of 
Congress. The resolutions recommended were later adopted 
by Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. 

The language used by the Convention admitted the con¬ 
struction that the Convention proposed to dissolve the 
Union; but in any light, a combination was formed the 
„ effect of which was to enfeeble the government in the hour 

History of G f c p re necessitv' and to encourage the hopes and projects 

U. S., Ill, 

400 of the enemy. The Convention was the work of New 

England Federalists and its action was so repugnant to 
American principles that it turned the patriotic hearts of 
the people from the Federal party. That party fell into 
odium and eventually became moribund. 

While the Hartford Convention was in progress a Treaty 
of Peace was signed at Ghent on December 24, but nearly 
two months passed before the news reached America. 


Andrew 

Jackson 


The victory at New Orleans 

In September some fifteen thousand British troops, no 
longer needed in Europe, had been dispatched to take New 
Orleans and Mobile. Andrew Jackson was in command 
of that part of the Union. He was well sustained by the 
Southern people. On the 8th of January he met the 
enemy and was the victor. It was the most glorious battle 
fought during the war. The repulse of the British veterans 
was overwhelming. Now despondency gave place to high 



THE WAR ENDS GLORIOUSLY 


241 


elation. Patriotic ardor stirred the breast of every true 
American. However, a month later the news of the treaty 
reached Washington. On February 1, the treaty having 
been received, was ratified, and the good news flew through 
the country. America had won the war. Blessed peace 
had come! and what was called the Second War for Amer¬ 
ican Independence had ended in a blaze of glory. 

Toward the end of the war feeling had not been favor¬ 
able to the administration. The flight of the President, the 
capture of Washington City, the burning of the Capitol and 
the inadequate provision made for defense were heavy 
weights for the administration leaders to carry. Indeed, 
Macon had not been a cordial supporter of war measures, 
while the Federalists had been urgent in opposition. But 
the war had terminated fortunately, and as the wave of 
rejoicing swept over the country, the people turned again 
to the support of the Administration. In North Carolina, 
Republicans continued in control of the Assembly and re¬ 
gained several of the Congressional districts they had pre¬ 
viously lost. John R. Donnell, writing to Thomas Ruffin, 
congratulated him “on the unexpected triumphs of our Re¬ 
publican friends in almost every part of the State in the 
late Congressional canvass.” It was indeed the end of 
the Federal party in the State; after this, the odium into 
which the New England Federalists had fallen bore so heav¬ 
ily on their friends that their southern confreres generally 
withdrew from them. Indeed, they became stigmatized as 
“Blue Light Federalists,” the reference being to the allega¬ 
tion that when our naval vessels, the Macedonian and the 
United States, were attempting to pass to sea at night from 
New London, their escape was frustrated by means of blue 
light signals, used by traitors to warn the blockading 
British fleet. 


Peace 


The Federal¬ 
ists odious 


Ruffin, I, 
161 


The Blue 
Lights 


16 



242 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


Conditions in 1815 

A view of conditions in the State at this period, how¬ 
ever, presents a picture far from inspiring. As listed for 
taxation by the proprietors, the general average of land 
value was about $1.33 an acre. In Northampton and Hali¬ 
fax it was about $5.00. In the northern central counties, 
from Orange, east and west, it was higher than in any other 
section, while in some of the long settled eastern counties 
it was very low, perhaps because of the uncleared swamps 
and worthless savanna lands, as in New Hanover, where 
it was only about sixty cents an acre. But the commissioners 
to assess land for the United States direct taxes for the year 
1815 estimated the average value at $2.60, almost twice as 
much as that given in for State taxation. The valuation of 
slaves in the counties shows that in Caswell, Person, Gran¬ 
ville, Nash, Franklin, and Warren the slaves were more 
valuable than the land, and in Wilkes, Iredell, Rowan, Meck¬ 
lenburg, Lincoln, Burke and other western counties, the 
slaves were valued at more than half that of the land. 

Transportation 

The handicap of the western counties was their inade¬ 
quate transportation facilities; while the eastern ports were 
deprived of the trade of the interior since the most accessible 
markets for the west were in South Carolina and Virginia. 
One of the first great turnpikes was from Morganton by 
way of Kings Mountain to Charleston, S. C.; others led 
toward Petersburg, and further east Norfolk was the easiest 
market. The general effect was to keep the value of the 
The markets products of the west at a low point and to limit the trade 
of the merchants of the east, who thus made no profit either 
in handling the exported products or in supplying the in¬ 
terior with necessaries. The profits accrued to the mer¬ 
chants of Virginia and South Carolina, and it was con¬ 
sidered that they amounted to about half a million of dollars 



WHEN LIVING CAME HIGH 


243 


each year. As a result of these conditions, there was but 
little cash accumulated through enterprise and industry; 
nor were there many channels open for the investment of 
money. Indeed, the only investment, other than negroes 
and lands, seems to have been bank stock. 

No record was kept of coastwise shipments, but it appears 
that the foreign exports of all the other North Carolina 
ports were only about one-third those of Wilmington, for the 
produce of the northeastern counties went chiefly to 
Virginia. Towards the south it was different. Fayette¬ 
ville, at the head of water transportation on the Cape Fear, 
was the center of a considerable trade, and was the most 
populous, wealthiest and most important town in the State. 
Domestic produce shipped by Fayetteville in 1816 included 
2,337 hogsheads of tobacco; 8,252 bales of cotton; 11,813 
bushels of wheat; 12,962 barrels of flour; 5,164 casks flax 
seed; 29,761 gallons of spirits of turpentine, the whole ag¬ 
gregating $1,331,368. Wilmington’s export trade for six 
months of the same year, included lumber, $157,290; naval 
stores, $131,000; products of agriculture, $1,112,300. 

Prices of merchandise were high. Dr. Battle, with the 
books of a mercantile firm at Raleigh before him, wrote as 
to values in 1815: “I have a guilty sensation, like that of 
an eavesdropper, in seeing what the belles and beaux of that 
period were accustomed to buy; ribbons and combs, and 
calicoes, silk handkerchiefs, teas and coffee and (shall I tell 
on them?) brandy and rum. A dozen needles cost 25 cents, 
a silk handkerchief, bandana, $1.25, a muslin handker¬ 
chief 70 cents; a yard of broadcloth $7.00; a pound of pepper 
70 cents; a pair of cotton hose $1.40; a dozen pewter plates 
$4.50; a pound of hyson tea $2.50; a yard of linen 70 cents; 
a pound of gunpowder $1.00, and a pound of shot 15 cents. 
Nails were sold by number, fifty ten-penny nails for 15 
cents. Brandy was cheaper, $1.60 a gallon, but loaf sugar 
for sweeting the julep was 45 cents a pound.” 


Fayetteville 


Exports 
Flax seed, 
flour, etc. 


Prices 



244 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


Southern 

Quakers, 

258 


At that period there were looms in nearly every house and 
flax was converted into linen, wool into jersey, and cotton 
into cloth—the people dressing generally in homespun. 
The pine, along with candles and oil lamps, furnished 
lights. The food was the product of the farm and gardens 
and in every community were potters, shoemakers, carpen¬ 
ters and others adept in the various handicrafts. 

Emigration 

From the time when the first migrations beyond the 
mountains began there had been removals to the western 
wilderness. While this call found response in the frontier 
and central counties, it also led to a considerable movement 
even from the sea coast region. A notable instance had 
occurred in 1800. There were two original settlements of 
Quakers in the State, one in the Albemarle section, and 
one, later, from Pennsylvania and Maryland and even 
Massachusetts in the western counties, with the center at 
New Garden. Also a considerable number of Friends had 
located in Jones County and the contiguous territory form¬ 
ing what was known as the Contentnea Quarter. In 1800 
all of that Quaker settlement removed to Ohio, and from 
that time onward there were movements from New Garden 
and from Albemarle to the country north of the Ohio River. 
While the spirit of enterprise and hope of advantage were 
controlling motives, yet disapproval of slavery was likewise 
a factor. Many of the Quakers, being opposed to slavery, 
sought homes where it did not exist. But the loss of popu¬ 
lation by the removal of the Quakers was slight in com¬ 
parison to that occasioned by the exodus of others to the 
new lands now open to entry. Thousands of the German 
Lutherans, and some of the Guilford Quakers, moved north 
of the Ohio, while the more eastern emigrants went south 
and west. The movement was induced by the little cost 
of entry and the speedy increase in value by the great stream 
of immigrants rushing in to possess the lands. The white 



DISCOURAGING CONDITIONS 


245 


population during the previous decade had increased but 12 
per cent, whereas a normal increase would have been be¬ 
tween 16 and 20 per cent. Indeed the free blacks increased 
through emancipation 45 per cent while there had been an 
increase in slaves of 25 per cent, although many of the whites 
going to the south carried their negroes with them. 

As the transportation facilities throughout the State 
were very poor the western counties found their most 
convenient markets in South Carolina and Virginia. It 
was to remedy this condition that continued efforts were 
made to open the water-courses to transportation; and turn¬ 
pikes were chartered here and there at the west, allowing 
tolls to be charged for their use. Living conditions in the 
interior must indeed have been discouraging, produce yield¬ 
ing but small returns for industry, while prices of necessa¬ 
ries brought from abroad were high. 

Ko free schools 

As yet the State had not engaged in public education; and 
although there was a multiplication of academies, the policy 
of free schools had not been adopted. Indeed, while Massa¬ 
chusetts had early required her townships to maintain schools 
at which indigents might be taught, these schools were 
largely supported by the individual patrons. It does not 
appear that even as late as 1815 there was in any state a 
free school system maintained by state taxation. Connect¬ 
icut had in 1795 appropriated the proceeds of her lands in 
Ohio for a school fund, but there was no state taxation 
for education, nor had New York a system of free educa¬ 
tion in 1815. The next year, however, that state opened 
free schools, the first ever sustained by general taxation. 
In North Carolina the need for transportation being 
pressing, conditions were unfavorable for taxation for 
schools; and despite the numerous academies conducted in 
the counties, the number of illiterates increased. However, 
the absence of free schools could not have influenced 


At the west 


Situation 

elsewhere 



246 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


Dec., 1816 


Miller urges 
equality of 
opportunity 


wealthy, educated families to remove into the far wilderness 
where there were no schools at all. 

The Assembly 

When the Assembly met Miller was continued as Gov¬ 
ernor and John Branch was chosen as Speaker of the Senate. 
Governor Miller in his message said: “The progress which 
has been made of late in the establishment of seminaries for 
the educating of youth evinces a spirit and genius in the 
people of this State for literary acquirements. But so long 
as these establishments are left to depend for support on 
individual exertion, their beneficial effects must necessarily 
be partial. It is under the fostering hand of legislative 
patronage alone that the temple of science can be thrown 
open to all,” and he urged that some plan should be devised 
by which “every member of the community, no matter 
how circumscribed his situation, may have an opportunity 
of experiencing the benefits of education. . . . The great 
object of a republic, it seems to me, should be to keep all 
the members of the community, as near as possible, on an 
equality.” Thus he enforced his views for general educa¬ 
tion by the State. He also urged the improvement of roads, 
cutting canals, and opening the navigation of the rivers. 

Murphey’s report 

And now Archibald D. Murphey, who united intellectu¬ 
ality with purpose in a higher degree than any of his con¬ 
temporaries, became more active than ever in matters that 
bore on the improvement of conditions in the State. 
Murphey had been well taught and had studied law under 
Duffie, a gifted scholar; and he himself had directed the 
law studies of Bartlett Yancey, Thomas Ruffin and others 
who attained eminence in after life. He was studious, at¬ 
tentive to details and thorough in the consideration of sub¬ 
jects; moreover, he was endowed with a lively imagination 



MURPHEY’S PROGRESSIVE MEASURES 


247 


and in his writings selected his words with unusual felicity. 
He was bent on State improvement rather than on the 
promotion of partisan measures, nor was he alone in such 
purposes, for others were in sympathy. 

Murphey in his report to the Assembly on Internal Im¬ 
provements said: “Within 25 years more than 200,000 of 
our inhabitants have removed to the waters of the Ohio, 
Tennessee and Mobile. Thousands of our wealthy and 
respectable citizens are annually moving to the west in 
quest of that wealth which a rich soil and a commodious 
navigation never fail to create in a free state/’ He urged 
that the opening of rivers, cutting of canals and making 
turnpikes were of necessary importance. He declared that 
at the end of five years the values of land, then estimated 
at $53,000,000, would be doubled, and the products, esti¬ 
mated at $30,000,000, would reach ninety millions, “that our 
citizens would then remain and our population in twenty 
years would be one and a half millions.” While he advocated 
improvement of all roads, he urged particularly cutting 
a canal connecting the Yadkin and Cape Fear rivers. His 
report was favorably received. 

Legislative action 

In response to these recommendations there was legis¬ 
lation to improve the Neuse, the Tar, Yadkin and Roanoke 
rivers and other smaller streams. In this matter the As¬ 
sembly went to the limit of its ability and then, animated 
with a desire to do what was practicable in regard to edu¬ 
cating the poorer children, it appointed a committee to re¬ 
port a plan and system of public instruction; and it also 
appointed a committee to report on the advisability of estab¬ 
lishing a penitentiary, but the House rejected the proposi¬ 
tion to hold a convention to amend the Constitution by 84 
to 34. The Governor was directed to proclaim a day of 
General Thanksgiving for the successful ending of 
the late war, but commendation of the President was 


The migra¬ 
tion 


Murphey’s 

vision 


Efforts for 
improvement 



248 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


Statue of 
Washington 


Jefferson’s 
Letters, VI, 
534 


December, 

1815 


Macon, 

Senator 


withheld. An act was passed dividing the State into fifteen 
districts for the election of presidential electors. As an 
amendment of judicial procedure the judges were now 
allowed to grant new trials in criminal cases. At this ses¬ 
sion, Governor Miller submitted to the Assembly the resolu¬ 
tions of Massachusetts and Connecticut, the result of the 
Hartford Convention, to amend the Constitution in several 
particulars, in which the Assembly refused to concur. And 
in contrast with the New England spirit, North Carolina 
again sought to manifest her devotion to the Union and to 
inculcate among her citizens sentiments of reverence for 
the founder of the republic by instructing the Governor to 
have made a statue of Washington. Later the Governor 
reported that he had asked the advice of Macon and all 
of our public men. Macon in turn had requested Jefferson 
to advise him. No one was probably more competent. 
Jefferson’s reply was full and illustrates the extensive and 
varied information of that remarkable man. He recom¬ 
mended that Canova be employed; that the bust made by 
Ceracchi should be the model, and he elucidated every prac¬ 
tical detail. His advice was followed, and the contract 
with Canova was made. 

In August, 1815, Macon‘had as usual been returned to the 
House, and when, on December 4, the House met, was in 
his seat at Washington. Francis Locke, however, had 
resigned as senator; indeed he had never qualified; and 
the Assembly now cast about to fill the place made vacant 
by Stone’s retirement. No one in the State was in the 
same sphere as Nathaniel Macon and he was chosen. 
He had for a quarter of a century been the leader of the 
North Carolina delegation, and of his integrity, candor 
and patriotism no one doubted. He had been one of the 
very creators of the Republican party, and he had managed 
its affairs when Speaker in difficult times with address and 
power. He took his seat in the Senate, December 13, and 
an election being immediately held for a successor in the 



MACON IN THE SENATE 


249 


House of Representatives, his friend and neighbor, Weldon 
N. Edwards, was elected and was sworn in February 7, 
1816. Macon’s transfer to the Senate may not have been 
agreeable to him at all points, as that body had then but 
thirty-six members, but it relieved him from association 
with Randolph and some others in the House with whom 
he had had divergences that brought regret, and also re¬ 
lieved him from association with Clay and Calhoun and 
others who, while training with the Republican party, had 
liberal views of the Constitution that Macon could not 
stomach, and, indeed, they derisively called him “Old Fogy.” 
The escape was doubtless satisfactory to him. 

Gaston in Congress 

The withdrawal of Mr. Macon from the House, how¬ 
ever, did not leave the North Carolina delegation without 
distinguished membership. Among others, Mr. Gaston re¬ 
mained. And Gaston was rated as the peer of Lowndes, 
Clay, Calhoun and Webster: indeed, in some material re¬ 
spects, none of them equaled him. Being opposed to the 
administration, his course led him away from Calhoun and 
Clay, with both of whom he had some passages in debate. 
In February, 1814, when the Loan Bill was before the 
House, he reviewed the measures of the administration 
with great power. Calhoun interposed, Gaston replied with 
such directness that had not Calhoun smoothed the matter 
a collision would have occurred. 

Later, in January, 1816, as his term was near its close 
Gaston spoke on the previous question, following a speech 
Speaker Clay had made on the floor. It was one of the 
notable speeches delivered in Congress. His reputation 
was high and the galleries were crowded. Gaston had 
carefully examined all the law and history, in England as 
here, on the subject, and had prepared an elaborate and 
powerful argument. Speaker Clay had spoken with the 
confidence and assurance that at that period characterized 


1816 


Gaston’s re¬ 
ply to Clay 



250 


THE HARTFORD C0NVENTI0X 


him. Gaston turning to the Speaker said: "If this hideous 
rule could have been vindicated we should have received 
that vindication from the gentleman who has just resumed 
his seat. If his ingenuity .and zeal combined could form, 
for the previous question, no other defense than that which 
we have heard, the previous question cannot be defended. 
If beneath his shield it found so slight a shelter, it must 
fall a victim to the just though delayed vengeance of awak¬ 
ened and indignant freemen. If Hector cannot protect his 
Troy, the doom of Troy is fixed by fate.” Clay was put 
in such a sorry plight by the well considered speech of 
Gaston that he became personally offended with him; polit¬ 
ically, they were already adversaries. 

Gaston a few weeks later retired from the national halls, 
where Clay remained a great figure. They did not meet 
again for many years, indeed not until they had both put 
aside their old political associations and had become Whigs. 
Then, during a visit of Gaston to Washington they met 
Seaton 995 a t Mr. Seaton’s table. They each gave a token of recogni¬ 
tion, but preserved a stately reserve until the host offered 
the sentiment: “Friendships in marble, enmities in dust.” 
They obeyed the injunction; cordial relations were estab¬ 
lished and their friendship continued through life. 

The Colonization Society 

Apprehensions of evil results that might attend emanci¬ 
pation operated to restrict the right of owners to free their 
slaves. To remove fears of insurrection incited by free 
negroes, a society was formed in 1816 to colonize the free 
negroes, and, indeed, there was some hope that colonization 
would open the way to general emancipation. Chief among 
the promoters of this society was Judge Bushrod Wash¬ 
ington of Virginia, its first president; and Henry Clay was 
an urgent advocate. Everywhere throughout the Union the 
advent of the society was hailed with satisfaction, and 
ninety-six subsidiary local societies were formed, chiefly at 



MURPHEY’S IMPORTANT WORK 


251 


the South. There were many organized in North Carolina, 
where the Quakers cordially cooperated. The settlement 
in Africa was called Monrovia after President Monroe, 
who rendered the enterprise much assistance. 

Murphey strives for education 

When the Assembly met in November, 1816, John, 
Branch was Speaker of the Senate, Thomas Ruffin of the 
House. On the election of Ruffin to a vacant judgeship, 
James Iredell was chosen Speaker. This session deserves 
to be considered as a memorable one in its influences on the 
thoughts of the people. In the Senate, Romulus M. Saun-. 
ders, chairman of the Committee on Propositions and Griev¬ 
ances, was perhaps the busiest member, but A. D. Murphey’s 
work was by far the most important. He was chairman of 
the committee to which was referred the subject of “free 
school education,’’ of that having in charge inland naviga¬ 
tion, and that to consider the question of calling a conven¬ 
tion. On all these he made notable reports that are memo¬ 
rials of his high patriotism and correct logic; of his wide 
information, his clearness of thought and precision of state¬ 
ment. At this session John M. Walker, who had been 
appointed on the committee to recommend a public school 
system, submitted a report, saying, however, that there 
had been no meeting of the committee. Likewise 
Murphey submitted an elaborate report. But while both 
were ordered to be printed neither was acted on. The sub¬ 
ject was left open. There was no adequate fund for the 
purpose. 

Murphey’s report went fully into the details of a 
statewide system of public instruction. 

In his report on inland navigation, Murphey said, “The 
true foundations of national prosperity and of national glory 
must be laid in a liberal system of internal improvements 
and of public education: in a system which shall give en¬ 
couragement to the cultivation of the soil; which shall give 


1816 


Murphey’s 
Papers, Vol. 
II 


Improvement 
of water 
routes 



252 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


Murphey’s 
Papers, II, 
19 


Inequality 
of represen¬ 
tation 


Murphey’s 
Papers, II, 
45 


force to the faculties of the mind and establish over the 
heart the empire of a sound morality." In this report he 
describes the effect of the Gulf Stream on the coast of the 
State, mentions- that the inlet through which Raleigh’s ships 
entered the sound had long been closed, and he recom¬ 
mended that another should be opened for Albemarle 
Sound. He likewise urged the improvement of Ocracoke 
Inlet, and of those of the Cape Fear, and the cutting of a 
canal from the waters of the Pamlico and Neuse to Beau¬ 
fort. And he dwelt on the improvement of the river 
courses. He recommended the appointment of a board to 
have these matters in charge. He repeatedly urged the 
construction of a canal connecting the Yadkin with the Cape 
Fear. 

Among his remarkable reports was that on the subject 
of a convention. He showed that 37 counties with 152,586 
whites had 111 members in the Assembly, while 25 counties 
with 234,090 whites had only 74 members. A propor¬ 
tionate representation would reverse this, giving the 37 
counties only 75 members. He declared that one-third 
of the State governed the other two-thirds, and urged sub¬ 
mitting the question to the people. 


The currency 

The financial condition was not satisfactory. Specie was 
scarce, and individuals had been issuing their own due bills 
that passed to some extent as currency. The Legislature 
asked the State Bank to increase its capital stock, so as to 
provide additional circulation. The directors gave reasons 
why that was not desirable. From this statement it appears 
that about 1797, prior to the establishment of any bank, 
the circulation in the State was about $300,000 of State 
notes, and an equal amount of specie. In 1811, the circu¬ 
lating medium was about one million dollars, the bank notes, 
although less than one-half, being depreciated. Now the 
bank circulation was thought to be nine times greater, and 



FINANCIAL CONDITIONS 


253 


any increase of bank issues would lead to depreciation. The 
directors mentioned with some show of pride that when at 
the North and elsewhere there had been a suspension of spe¬ 
cie payments the notes of the North Carolina banks were not 
depreciated, but passed current everywhere throughout the 
Union, and even at different commercial centers brought a 
premium, and were in fact measurably a continental cur¬ 
rency. And indeed that very circumstance might well have 
been a source of pride. In September, 1814, the banks at 
the North had suspended specie payment, and their notes 
depreciated. The New England and New York notes 
fell ten per cent; the Baltimore notes 20 per cent; and 
others 25 per cent. The stability of the North Carolina 
bank notes presented a gratifying contrast. 'Specie pay¬ 
ments at the North were not resumed until the establish¬ 
ment of the United States Bank by Congress; and now that 
bank was about to open a branch in North Carolina, sup¬ 
plying more notes, which was an additional reason for not 
further enlarging the paper circulation. The episode well 
illustrates the enlightened judgment and business capacity 
of the bankers of the State. 

The Cherokees 

In the autumn of 1806 deputations of the Cherokee 
Indians laid before the President their desire to have a 
division between the upper and lower towns, and prayed 
that those of the upper towns might remain in their pos¬ 
session and practice agriculture and become civilized; while 
those of the lower towns desired to have other territory 
assigned them across the Mississippi River. The President 
answered in 1809 conformably to their wishes, and later 
a treaty was made in which it was particularly declared that 
to every head of an Indian family residing on lands sur¬ 
rendered to the United States who may wish to become 
citizens of the United States, the Government was to allot 


North Caro¬ 
lina bank 
notes 



254 


THE HARTFORD CONVENTION 


Statutes at 
Large, VII, 
157 


Progressive 

measures 


640 acres of land. So the way was opened for the Cher- 
okees of the upper towns to become citizens of the United 
States. North Carolina purchased from the Cherokees the 
territory making Haywood County, but the rights of the 
Indians of that region were safely guarded. Their chief 
and agent was John Ross, who exerted a great influence for 
good among them. The money derived from the sale of 
that land became a fund of great importance and benefit to 
the State when later opened for entry. 

The committee on the erection of a penitentiary made a 
favorable report, and presented a bill to erect one at Fayette¬ 
ville; but the House preferred Raleigh as the location, and 
on December 19, by a vote of 66 to 56 passed the bill with 
the amendment. However, it was not acted on in the 
Senate. The ’Assembly was not indifferent to propositions 
for improvement and subscribed for 150 shares in the Cape 
Fear Navigation Company; and authorized a subscription 
of $20,000 for cutting the Yadkin canal. However, it re¬ 
fused to vest in one company under Delacy acting for 
Fulton, the right for the exclusive use of steafnboats on 
the waters of the State. On December 25 the Assembly 
was informed that the Governor's house was finished and 
furnished ready for occupancy. 

The year 1816 has been called “The year without a sum¬ 
mer.” North of the Ohio and Potomac, in every month 
there were frost, snow and ice and no crops matured. In 
the Southern States it was not so bad, but still the result 
was damaging in North Carolina and the progressive spirit 
of this Assembly may have been moderated by the existing 
conditions. 



CHAPTER XVII 


Steamboats—Fulton Arrives 

Branch Governor.—Renewed efforts for transportation and for 
education.—Virginia helps on the Roanoke.—New Bern Steam¬ 
boat Company incorporated.—Education at Wilmington.—Mur- 
phey’s plan.—Yancey proposes a Supreme Court.—Conditions in 
1818.—Agriculture.—Death of Grove.—Sunday schools.—Gales’s 
enterprise.—Other enterprises.—Wild schemes.—Surveys.—Su¬ 
preme Court established.—Court reports.—New judges.—Divorces. 
—Martin proposes taxation for schools.—The House opposed.— 
The North Carolina waters.—Introduction of steamboats.—Presi¬ 
dent Monroe’s visit.—Maps.—Financial distress.—The disastrous 
year at Wilmington.—Fulton arrives.—The Mecklenburg Declara¬ 
tion first published.—Its genesis.—Alexander’s notes.—The ac¬ 
count of the Declaration altered.—Discredited.—Jones’s defense 
of North Carolina.—The Assembly meets.—Portrait of Washing¬ 
ton.—The Capitol prepared for the statue.—Movement foil a 
convention. 

Internal improvements 

When the Assembly met John Branch of Halifax was at 
first chosen Speaker of the Senate and then Governor, to 
succeed Governor Miller; Bartlett Yancey taking his place, 
as Speaker, and James Iredell becoming Speaker of the 
House. 

Renewed efforts were made to secure internal improve¬ 
ments, and to promote education, Murphey being active in 
every matter of importance. 

As to river improvement, Treasurer Haywood with three 
others had been appointed a commission to visit and report 
progress made on the Catawba, Yadkin and Cape Fear; 
and he reported that but little work had been done. On 
the other hand, Murphey declared that in the State at large 
the result was gratifying, and that ten millions of dollars 
had been added to the value of property in the State. In 
particular, was he specific with regard to the operations on 
the Roanoke and Dan rivers. The improvement company 


1817 


Dec., 1816 


Branch, 

Governor 


256 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


The Roanoke 

Navigation 

Company 


The New 
Bern Com¬ 
pany 


Education 


had “commenced its labors, and within less than twelve 
months had produced effects that even the most sanguine 
had not hoped for; lands had risen more than 100 per cent 
in value along many of the waters of the Roanoke. Boats 
had been built and produce brought down the Dan into 
the Roanoke to the advantage of the State.” 

Virginia had proposed to pass the North Carolina act of 
incorporation, and to subscribe $80,000 to the stock of the 
company, on certain conditions, which on Murphey’s recom¬ 
mendation the Legislature agreed to. Truly it seemed that 
hopes of State betterment would now be realized. There 
were several propositions to secure to persons the exclusive 
right to navigate streams with steamboats, but only one was 
acted on favorably. The New Bern Steamboat Company 
was incorporated, to have a capital stock of $100,000 and to 
navigate the waters of the State. 

Surveys were ordered to be made of all the principal 
rivers, and particularly with a view of constructing canals 
connecting their waters. The commissioners appointed on 
this work were Peter Browne, John Haywood, Joseph 
Gales, William Boylan and A. D. Murphey. 

Tlie penitentiary 

The proposition to establish a penitentiary now had the 
sanction of each house, but the controversy between Fayette¬ 
ville and Raleigh as to the location again defeated the 
measure. Public instruction was also more in the thoughts 
of the people. At Wilmington where the Innis Academy 
was in operation, the ladies asked for and obtained the 
incorporation of the Female Benevolent Society, to care 
for girls and give them education. At this session both 
Walker’s and Murphey’s reports were considered. Both 
favored schools at which every child might receive educa¬ 
tion ; but while Walker’s provided for the raising of money 
to pay for the tuition of the poorer children, Murphey’s 
report stated that that would be reported on later. 




MURPHEY’S EDUCATIONAL SCHEME 


257 


Martin offered a bill that provided for a fund to be 
raised by local taxation, but it was not considered. 

Murphey said in his report: “Your committee feels 
proud to look back and review the efforts that have been 
made in North Carolina to diffuse public instruction. Few 
states have afforded such examples of private munificence 
for the purpose.” In this he doubtless had reference to the 
considerable number of local academies and private schools 
that were dotted all through the State affording an oppor¬ 
tunity to every child whose friends could avail themselves 
of it. But Murphey now, as did the others, urged the edu¬ 
cation of every child, rich as well as poor, by public free 
schools. 

Indeed, Murphey’s scheme of education was extensive. 
It provided for primary schools in the townships, for acad¬ 
emies, and for the University, although he regarded that 
relatively but few would progress beyond the primary school. 
The State was to be divided into ten districts, in each of 
which an academy was to be established: and the entire 
course was to be at the expense of the State. Under the 
circumstances, while Murphey’s report was a memorable 
exposition of the general subject, illustrating his fine intel¬ 
ligence and industry, yet it was certainly an impracticable 
measure at that period. None of the propositions were 
acted on favorably. 

Bartlett Yancey, to whom had been referred that part of 
the Governor’s message relating to the judiciary, made a 
report providing for a Supreme Court, and for a court 
to be held in the western part of the State; but that measure 
also failed. However a proposition to revise the Acts of 
Assembly and to declare what British Statutes were in force 
in the State was adopted. 


Senate 
Journal, 
1816. p. 36 


Hoyt: Mur¬ 
phey Papers, 
IT, 63 


A glimpse of conditions 

A series of articles on agriculture was being published 

in the newspapers; in January, 1818, the twenty-fifth of 
17 



2 S8 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


Death of 
Grove 


Paper mill 
Nail factory 


the series appeared. The Agricultural Society of North 
Carolina had its annual meeting. On the 4th day of July 
there was a celebration at Hillsboro where Col. Wm. Shep- 
perd presided. The 16th toast was “The Dagon plow, 
clover and plaster; may our farmers learn their use and 
duly appreciate their value.” “Mr. Blount’s cotton crop, 
Washington, was 28,164 pounds on 30 acres, 938 pounds 
per acre.’’ “Cotton of superior grade, branded Joseph 
Chamblee, Yadkin, shipped from Wilmington to New 
York” ; “Because of drought, no corn or cotton in Cabarrus” ; 
“Evans, Donaldson & Co. will purchase seed cotton at 
the factory at Great Falls on the Tar River.” The factory 
on the Tar was then in operation. 

On the 30th day of March the distinguished public man 
and leading Federalist, William B. Grove, passed away at 
Fayetteville. He was then president of the branch of the 
U. S. Bank located there. He was so highly venerated that 
“the inhabitants of the town resolved to wear a token of 
mourning for thirty days.” And on the same day at Pilot 
Mountain, Mrs. Priscilla Carmichael died at the age of 113 
years; she had nineteen children and her eldest daughter 
was 93 years old. The healthiness of that section was in 
contrast with the insalubrity of the eastern counties. 

Incidents 

The Sunday school begun in Raleigh in 1817 had been 
followed by one at Poplar Tent in Mecklenburg. 

Raleigh’s waterworks were completed; “bringing water 
a mile and a half in wooden pipes, raised by force pumps 
no feet into a tower whence it descends to a reservoir in 
the State House yard.” 

Joseph Gales’s paper mill on the Neuse was in operation 
and Mitchael Hofifry & Co. had a nail factory at Raleigh. 
“Pews of the new Presbyterian Church were to be sold 
February 21.” So well managed was the State Bank that 
its stock was 30 per cent above par. Raleigh was enjoying 



WILD DREAMS OF PROSPERITY 


259 


a theater. The Cape Fear Navigation Company was im¬ 
proving the river up to Haywood; while the company that 
had been organized to render navigable the Neuse from 
Raleigh to New Bern was so successful in securing sub¬ 
scriptions that nearly all the shares were taken. 

To construct a road from Fayetteville to Morganton, 
persons living within two miles of the road were required 
to work it. A road from Burke to Charleston by way of 
Kings Mountain was already in operation. Joseph Seawell 
was authorized to construct a bridge across the Cape Fear 
River at Fayetteville, and he and his associates were to 
have the exclusive right to navigate the Cape Fear River 
with steamboats for seven years on the condition that 
they would keep at least one boat in service. The Hen¬ 
rietta was now plying regularly between Wilmington and 
Fayetteville. 

State coaches ran to Salem from Raleigh, and to Ply¬ 
mouth, with steamboat from Plymouth to Edenton; and 
stages ran to New Bern, where the New Bern Steamboat 
Company ran to Elizabeth City, with 'stages to Norfolk. 
There were two mails a week between Salem and Raleigh. 
The State House was now out of repair and needed addi¬ 
tional room for offices. Henry Potter, Judge Taylor and 
Bartlett Yancey were directed to sell city lots to obtain the 
funds to make the alterations. 

Wild visions 

On the return of the Assemblymen to their homes in 
February carrying with them the news of the great achieve¬ 
ments of the Roanoke Navigation Company, with the prom¬ 
ise that the improvement of the rivers would have similar 
results in every portion of the State, there was a period of 
unusual interest in public affairs. “The spirit of canal 
and river improvement spread like wildfire. There were 
dreams of navigating our streams from near their homes 
to the ocean. Raleigh was to receive the vessels of Pam- 


The 

Henrietta 





26 o 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


The surveys 


lico Sound up Neuse River and Walnut Creek. The pro¬ 
duce of the Yadkin Valley, from the foot of Blowing Rock 
was to cross by canal to Deep River and be exported from 
Wilmington, and the puffing of steamboats was to echo 
from the mountains which look down on the headwaters of 
the Catawba and the Broad." Such is the lively picture 
drawn by the careful Dr. K. P. Battle. 

Under such circumstances a strong Assembly came to 
Raleigh. Among the members were Gaston, Saunders 
Iredell, Stanly, McKay, Yancey, Murphey, Kenan, Bedford 
Brown, Louis D. Wilson, Simmons Baker, Meares, Mebane, 
Willie P. Mangum, Charles Fisher, Caldwell of Iredell, and 
Zebulon Baird ; and there were others of similar strength. 

Ambitious projects 

In the Assembly, Murphey submitted a report from the 
commission appointed to employ "a principal engineer" and 
other engineers and to cause surveys to be made of the 
rivers, in which it was said that no “principal engineer" 
could be obtained in this country, for all competent men were 
otherwise employed; that their chairman, Peter Browne, 
had gone to England and the commissioners had requested 
him to engage one abroad. A detailed report of the several 
surveys made was submitted. Dr. Caldwell and Prof. 
Mitchell made the survey of the Yadkin Narrows and 
Great Falls. John Price, the compiler of the map of the 
State, and Clemens made several surveys. Surveys were 
made of the Cape Fear, the Yadkin, and other streams; 
and routes for canals connecting several of them. Nor 
was the project of developing water transportation con¬ 
fined to the streams. Murphey proposed a survey for in¬ 
land communication from Pamlico Sound to the Cape Fear; 
and from the Cape Fear to South Carolina. If most of 
this was visionary, some substantial action was taken, and 
work was ordered to remove the obstructions of the Cape 
Fear River below Wilmington. Whatever doubts mav have 



SUPREME COURT ESTABLISHED 


261 


been entertained about the efficiency of water transportation 
were dissipated, progress was now to be made. 

The Supreme Court 

And in the fullness of time, the judicial system of the 
State was given its final form. The Court of Conference 
had been replaced by a Supreme Court, of which each of 
the Superior Court judges was a potential member, only 
two being necessary for a quorum. Of the Court of Con¬ 
ference John Louis Taylor was the Chief Justice and the 
only one. It had a seal and the judges were required to 
write out their opinions; but in some states there were 
Supreme Court judges who only heard appeals, and year 
after year there were propositions to establish such a high 
court in North Carolina. At length in 1818 Gaston presented 
such a measure and it was passed. Three Supreme Court 
judges were to be elected. When organized, the court chose 
Taylor its Chief Justice. Along with the establishment of 
this court, the Legislature provided a salary of $500 for a The reports 
reporter, who was to furnish the State 142 copies of reports 
of decisions. Before that there had been published at pri¬ 
vate venture reports compiled by Francois Xavier Martin 
containing decisions of the Superior Court and of the U. S. 

Circuit Court; by Judge John Haywood reports containing 
decisions of the Superior Court, Court of Conference, and 
the Federal courts, between 1797 and 1806. Chief Justice 
Taylor published reports for 1799, and Conference reports, 
and Archibald Murphey published reports for 1804 to 1810. 

Taylor also published the North Carolina Law Repository, 
the first volume containing State reports for 1811 and 1812 
and selected decisions elsewhere, along with sketches of 
eminent jurists; and this was followed by a second volume 
in 1815, and Taylor's Term Reports in 1816. Murphey 
then published a report for 1817. Such had been the pub¬ 
lications up to the time of the organization of the new 
Supreme Court and the employment of a State reporter. 



262 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


Divorces 

allowed 


Senate 

Journal 

1818 


The Legislature also now appointed Henry Potter, Bart¬ 
lett Yancey and Chief Justice Taylor to revise the statutes 
of the State. 

Changes on the bench 

There being three vacancies on the Superior Court bench, 
John Paxton, John D. Toomer and Frederick Nash were 
chosen. Neither Paxton nor Toomer remained long on 
the bench, although Judge Toomer was eminent in the pro¬ 
fession; but it was the beginning of an illustrious judicial 
career for Judge Nash. A few days later, the Assembly 
adopted a resolution that in its opinion no judge ought to be 
a director in any bank and contemporaneously with the 
adoption of that resolution, Judge Ruffin, who was hardly 
warm in his seat on the bench, resigned and his preceptor 
in law, Mr. Murphey, succeeded him. 

In 1814, the Superior courts were authorized to grant 
divorces from bed and board and to allow alimony, but 
the Legislature reserved to itself the right of granting 
absolute divorces, annulling the marriage tie; the practice 
as to these being for the court to examine the witnesses and 
present the facts to the Legislature for its action. Now, 
four years later, the Superior courts were for the first time 
vested with the power of granting absolute divorces. 

The House opposed to taxes 

William Martin of Pasquotank from the Committee 
on Public Instruction reported , a bill authorizing the county 
courts to establish one or more public schools in each cap¬ 
tain’s district; the teacher to be paid, two-thirds by the pay 
pupils and one-third by taxation; the poor children shall 
be taught free and books furnished them. This was some¬ 
what similar to the Massachusetts system. This bill passed 
the Senate 52 to 2, but it was postponed in the House. 
Such was the fate of every effort to establish schools by 
taxation. The Senate, being perhaps of a higher order of 



SOUNDS AND RIVERS 


263 


statesmanship than the House, was hampered by the major¬ 
ity of that body, although there were many members of 
fine intelligence in the House also. The failure to move 
forward now was an illustration of the inaction of a too 
conservative democracy. 

Tlie North Carolina waters 

From the Virginia line to South Carolina the ocean bank 
is generally a sand ridge varying in width from a few 
miles to a hundred yards, but with capes jutting out as at 
Hatteras and Lookout and at the mouth of the Cape Fear. 
Within the banks at the north are Albemarle and Pamlico 
sounds, whose waters extend westward over a hundred 
miles to the mouths of the Chowan, Roanoke, Tar and 
Neuse; and there are inlets breaking through the banks, 
the principal ones being near Roanoke Island and at Ocra- 
coke. Lower down are Beaufort harbor and the mouth of 
the Cape Fear River. From the water level for more 
than one hundred miles inland is the Coastal Plain that 
rises about a foot to the mile, often being so level that 
water barely passes ofif. Here are the great swamps that 
were a menace to health, while too vast to be drained 
through private enterprise. But here also were great forests 
that yielded lumber and naval stores for export. 

Along the western confines of this plain were the rocks 
that made the falls in the river courses, as in the counties of 
Halifax, Nash, Wake, Moore, and Montgomery; and now 
began the Piedmont region, gently rising for two hundred 
miles to the mountains, with hills here and there almost 
mountainous. Then at the west is the Blue Ridge, running 
from the South Carolina line to Ashe County, curving and 
with a broken chord between the eastern extremities. Be¬ 
yond the Blue Ridge are ranges and spurs to the Alle- 
ghanies, with valleys and plateaus, and nearly a hundred 
peaks reaching six thousand feet, all covered with rich soil 
and clothed in verdure. In Ashe County New River runs 



264 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


northward, flowing into the Ohio; while Toe River 
passes into Tennessee, as do the French Broad and 
other western streams. But the Catawba and Yadkin, rising 
on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge, run northward, 
until reaching more level beds, they bend to the eastward 
and finally turn sharply to the southward, the Catawba 
passing into South Carolina west of Charlotte, and the 
Yadkin keeping some fifty miles farther east. The Catawba 
in its courses is generally placid and with only a slight 
current, and navigable for boats, but with some shallows 
here and there; and so with the Yadkin until it reaches, 
in Montgomery County, the gorge formed by the en¬ 
croachment of the Uwharrie Mountains upon its channel. 
There it suddenly plunges a sheer cataract of ten feet into 
the head of the Narrows through which it passes a swift 
torrent, compressed into a width of sixty feet, for nearly 
three miles; then leaving the gorge, it at once expands into 
a breadth of a thousand yards, and becomes a scene of 
verdure caused by the Grassy Islands. 

Along the Virginia line, the Dan, rising in Stokes County, 
courses eastward, passes into Virginia, where it joins the 
Roanoke which presently comes into the State, being a 
wide and placid stream until it reaches the rapids in Halifax 
County; its waters finally emptying into Albemarle Sound. 

The Haw and the Deep in the central counties unite and 
form the Cape Fear that from Fayetteville down is a gentle, 
wide and deep stream. The Tar and the Neuse, draining the 
middle counties, also in their lower courses are navigable. 
Such in brief was the water system, which now it was 
proposed to utilize as far as practicable for transportation. 
The scheme was by no means Utopian. To succeed, how¬ 
ever, required a considerable expenditure and intelligent 
work. Shoals and obstacles were to be removed and their 
subsequent formation from natural causes guarded against, 
and the conditions were not favorable for a realization of 
the hopes now entertained. 



STEAMBOAT PROMOTERS 


265 


Introduction of steamboats 

In 1813 John Devereux Delacy came to New Bern as the 
representative of Robert Fulton, where there was also a 
representative of Stevens who had been engaged with Fulton 
earlier, but having separated, was now engaged in the same 
business Fulton was following—building steamboats for use 
in any desirable waters. North Carolina had not only 
her rivers but her inland sounds, and the possibilities of 
pecuniary returns were apparent. At that period the boats 
and machinery were so imperfect that the speed was only 
about four and a half miles an hour. 

Application was made in behalf of Stevens, for the exclu¬ 
sive right to navigate the waters of the State, but the As¬ 
sembly annexed a condition that was not acceptable; Delacy 
likewise made an application for the exclusive right to navi¬ 
gate the Neuse for a number of years: nor was that appli¬ 
cation favorably considered. Robert Fulton died in 1816, 
but Delacy remained, and on the formation of the Neuse 
Navigation Company, he associated himself with that com¬ 
pany and was engaged with its affairs. He continued at 
New Bern, and in 1818 a steamboat was plying from New 
Bern to Elizabeth City. Some years later Delacy offered 
to sell his interest in steamboats to the State at the price 
of thirty thousand dollars, but the offer was not accepted. 
It is said that the Clermont, the first steamboat to ascend 
the Hudson, was sold at the South. As Delacy was the agent 
of Fulton to place his steamboats, it is probable that the 
Clermont was brought to New Bern. The first use of 
steamboats at New Bern appears to have been to open a 
route to Norfolk and the North by steamer from New Bern 
to Elizabeth City, and then, overland to Norfolk. For that 
service the Clermont was well adapted. She was 133 feet 
lon<r, 18 feet wide and her hull 9 feet deep. While well 
suited for the sound, she drew too much water to ascend 
the Neuse very high up. Efforts were made to clear Neuse 


New Bern 
and 

Elizabeth 

City 




266 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


Edenton* and 
Plymouth 


Battle Hist. 
Univ., 252. 


The Cape 
Fear 


River of obstacles, but if steamboats were used they did not 
at that period ascend far. And in 1846, Governor Graham 
mentioned as something new that a steamboat was then 
plying the Neuse, and another on the Tar. 

In 1818 the Edenton and Plymouth Steamboat Company 
had been incorporated and a steamer ran between Plymouth 
and Edenton. Of this Dr. Mitchell makes mention. He 
was bringing his bride from Connecticut. They reached 
Norfolk by steamboat from Baltimore, and then over land 
eleven miles to the head of Dismal Swamp Canal. The 
canal boat was twenty feet long and it was drawn by horse 
four miles an hour for twenty-two miles. Arriving at 
Edenton, they found the steamboat had gone. On reaching 
Plymouth they took the stage to Raleigh. 

The first steamboat on the Cape Fear seems to have been 
the Prometheus in 1818. A joint stock company had been 
formed for the purpose of having a steamer built to ply 
between Wilmington and Smithville or Wilmington and 
Fayetteville. Captain Otway Burns, of privateer Snap 
Dragon fame during the war of 1812, was the contractor. 
The boat was built at Beaufort where he resided. When 
the company was informed that the steamer was ready for 
delivery they dispatched an experienced sea captain to 
bring her to her destined port. Expectations were on tiptoe. 
A feverish excitement existed in the community, which 
daily increased, as nothing was heard of him for a time, 
but early one morning this anxiety broke into the wildest 
enthusiasm when it was announced that the Prometheus 
was in the river. Bells were rung, cannon fired, and the en¬ 
tire population, without regard to age, sex or color, thronged 
the wharves to welcome her arrival. The tide was at the 
ebb, and the struggle between the advancing steamer and 
the fierce current was a desperate one, for she panted fear¬ 
fully, as though wind-blown and exhausted. She could 
be seen in the distance, enveloped in smoke, and the scream 
of her high pressure engine reverberated through the woods, 



QUICK FREIGHT SERVICE 


267 


while she slowly but surely crept along. As she neared 
Market Dock, the captain called through his speaking 
trumpet to the engineer below, “Give it to her, Snyder,” 
and while Snyder gave her all the steam she could bear, 
the laboring Prometheus snorted by, amid the cheers of the 
excited multitude. 

On the Cape Fear the Henrietta was plying in 1818. The 
Clarendon Steamboat Company was organized at Wil¬ 
mington in 1818 and all its stock quickly taken, while at 
Fayetteville James Seawell was the master mind in planning 
and executing. In the fall of. 1818 he obtained an act of 
Assembly vesting in himself and associates the exclusive 
privilege for the period of seven years of running steam¬ 
boats between Fayetteville and Wilmington; but others were 
to be allowed, if licensed by him. He likewise obtained 
authority to build a toll bridge across the river at Fayette¬ 
ville near the steamboat landing. He appears to have fos¬ 
tered the building pf boats by others, for four years later, 
the Legislature passed an act incorporating under the name 
of the Cape Fear Steamboat Company the proprietors of 
all the steamboats then plying on the river. The capital 
stock was. to be $60,000. 

Apparently, the first steamboat built on the river was the 
City of Fayetteville. “It was launched not far from the 
Clarendon bridge, and it has been related that some one 
having prophesied that it would turn turtle when it reached 
the water, the architect boldly rode in its bow, as it slipped 
off its ways and the event justified his faith in his work.” 

Then came the Henrietta, the Fanny Lutterloh, the Cot¬ 
ton Plant, and others. In 1819 the Fayetteville Observer 
mentioned merchandise purchased in New York, March 27, 
and shipped the 29th, reached Wilmington April 6, and was 
received at Fayetteville by the Steamer Henrietta in eight 
days . . . and before the bill of lading had reached 
Fayetteville by mail. 


Sprunt: 
Cape Fear 
Chronicles, 
139 


Ibid., 151 



268 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


April, 1819 


The 

engineers 
at Nags 
Head 


Maps 


Hoyt: Mur- 
phey Papers, 
II, 180 


In 1825, at the end of seven years, the Cotton Plant 
Steamboat Company was incorporated. 

And while Seawell and his associates were securing trans¬ 
portation on the water, the people at the west were co¬ 
operating and making efforts to obtain turnpike roads to 
Morganton, and to Salem and Wilkesboro; and a good road 
had been built to Raleigh. 

♦ 

Monroe’s visit 

In April, 1819, President Monroe made a tour through 
the South, and, accompanied by John C. Calhoun, the Secre¬ 
tary of War, and some of the Army Engineers, he went 
from Edenton across to Roanoke Island and Nags Head to 
examine the situation in regard to opening an inlet into 
Albemarle Sound. He visited Plymouth; and traveled by 
land to Washington, where a salute of twenty-one guns was 
given him; and indeed everywhere he received a great ova¬ 
tion. He then pursued his journey southward to New Bern 
and Wilmington. On April 12, he and his suite were met 
at Scotts Hill by the Wilmington Light-horse and escorted 
to the town. The next day, accompanied by A. D. Murphey, 
he was shown the salt works still in operation at Wrights- 
ville, and then the steamer Prometheus carried his party to 
Fort Johnston, on the way to Charleston. 

It is difficult to realize what obstacles the public men of 
that period encountered for the want of accurate informa¬ 
tion about the State. There were no maps. Jonathan 
Price and Strother proposed to make a map of the State, 
but the Legislature being applied to for assistance had de¬ 
nied any aid; fortunately Judge Stone and Peter Browne 
gave some assistance and the enterprise went forward. 
However, one-sixth of the State at the west remained 
without any survey, and very imperfectly portrayed. Still 
a few years later when Turner was preparing his atlas in¬ 
cluding the countries of the world and each American 



DISTRESS AND DISASTER 


269 


state, he complimented this map as being the best of any 
state. 

The movement for transportation led to surveys in the 
central and eastern parts of the State and brought out much 
information of value. 

The geological structure of the Piedmont section par¬ 
ticularly was explored and interesting facts connected with 
the falls in the various rivers on passing into the Coastal 
plain were brought to public attention, particular surveys 
being made by Dr. Mitchell, President Caldwell and others. 

Financial distress 

In 1819 there was widespread financial distress through¬ 
out the State. The policies introduced in 1815 had borne 
some fruit. The movement for internal improvements had 
brought hope of advanced values and of local development. 

And so an era of speculation set in. But the progress was 
not commensurate with the expectations while the main 
cause of the backward condition of the State remained. 

In the absence of adequate transportation facilities the prod¬ 
ucts of the industrious inhabitants were of small value at 
home, and carried to a market elsewhere, other communi¬ 
ties profited from them, while merchants in other states 
derived the profit from supplying necessary goods to the 
people of North Carolina. It was to remove these obstacles 
to prosperity that a great effort was now made by the lead¬ 
ing men. But for the present the condition was bad. The 
banks suspended specie payments. Many persons became 
insolvent. 

This vear has been called “the disastrous vear" for the . 

\\ ilmington 

little town of Wilmington, whose white population was 
barely a thousand. First, in the summer the dreadful scourge 
of yellow fever that was more prevalent through the South 
Atlantic region than usual, prevailed in the town: and 
then in November a conflagration almost destroyed it. 

“Thrice,” said the Wilmington Recorder, “within twenty 





270 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


Sprunt: 
Cape Fear 
Chronicles, 
104 

1819 


years has the devouring element laid in ashes the abodes 
of her inhabitants. . . . Enterprise, industry, and the assist¬ 
ance of her neighbors gave her measurably resuscitation, 
until the recent pressure of the times bended her down al¬ 
most to the sinking point. Embarrassments in pecuniary 
matters had reached that state which appeared to baffle 
relief. Sickness and death followed in the melancholy 
train. Despair had almost concluded that she could not 
sink beyond this. Hope pointed to better days. Disease 
had ceased, the deserted abodes of her inhabitants filling, 
vessels arriving daily in her port. Then the fire; the de¬ 
lusion vanished. There were about three hundred houses 
destroyed and the loss of property was between six and 
seven hundred thousand dollars.” The fever that attacked 
Wilmington also prevailed elsewhere in the State. At 
Fayetteville there were several deaths, and elsewhere com¬ 
munities suffered. 

On April 11 the first Presbyterian Church ever erected at 
Wilmington was dedicated and Rev. Mr. Boice was or¬ 
dained and installed as pastor. “It was but a few years 
past that there was but one minister of that place and he of 
the Methodist persuasion. The Episcopal Church was in 
a ruinous and neglected state; since which time it has been 
repaired, galleries added, and an organ obtained; a Meth¬ 
odist meeting house built, and the Presbyterian Church; 
over all are clergymen.” 

Fulton arrives 

Hamilton Fulton, the English Engineer employed by 
Peter Browne, arrived in June, 1819, and found himself in 
the presence of novel conditions. But on the departure of 
Browne for England, Murphey had been chosen a member 
of the Board of Internal Improvements to supply the va¬ 
cancy; and he was likewise chosen chairman of the board; 
and as such he prepared a memoir of the situation in the 
State for the information and instruction of Fulton, the first 



MECKLENBURG DECLARATION 


271 


object in view being to render the rivers navigable, not 
for steamboats, but for flat boats, carrying produce from 
river landings down the stream to some point for shipment. 

To this end, the Catawba and the Yadkin and other rivers 
were deemed navigable almost to the mountains. 

Murphey’s memoir indicates such a thorough examination 
of details and such a copious volume of information that Jhey Paper's, 
of itself it establishes Judge Murphey in the front rank n> 103 
of North Carolinians. 

Fulton had been employed in important works in several 
countries of Europe and rated his services at 1200 pounds 
per annum. While his residence was at Raleigh, his em¬ 
ployment led him to make examination of all the rivers. 

The Mecklenburg Declaration 

On the 30th day of April, 1819, there was published in 
the Register at Raleigh a paper writing giving an account 
of a patriotic convention held at Charlotte, May 20, 1775, at 
which resolutions declaring independence were adopted. 

It had happened that the records of the Committee of 
Safety of Mecklenburg County were in the possession of 
Col. John McKnitt Alexander, and his residence having . 
been burnt down in April, 1800, these records were then 
destroyed. Soon afterwards he undertook to reproduce 
the resolves of the committee adopted in May, 1775, and 
this is what he wrote: 

On the 19th May 1775 Pursuant to the Order of Col. Adam 
Alexander to each Captain of Militia in his regiment of Meck¬ 
lenburg County, to elect nominate and appoint 2 persons of 
their Militia company, cloathed with ample powers to devise 
ways and means to extricate themselves and ward off the dread¬ 
ful impending storms bursting on them by the British Nation 
&&& 

Therefore on sd. 19th May the sd. Committee met in Char¬ 
lotte Town (2 men from each company) Vested with all powers 
these their constituents had or conceived they had &&& 

After a short conference about their suffering brethren be- 
seiged and suffering every hardship in Boston and the American 
Blood running in Lexington &&& the Electrical fire flew into 
every breast and to preserve order choose Abraham Alex Es- 






272 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


quire chairman & J. McK. A. Secretary. After a few Hour free 
discussion in order to give relief to suffering America and 
protect our Just & natural right. 

1st. We, (the County) by a solemn and awful vote, dissolved 
our allegiance to King George and the British Nation. 

2nd. Declared ourselves a free & independent people, hav¬ 
ing a right and capable to govern ourselves (as a part of North 
Carolina) 

3rd. In order to have laws as a rule of life—for our future 
Government. We formed a Code of laws, by adopting our former 
wholesome laws. 

4th. And as there was then no officers civil or military in our 
County we decreed that every Militia officer in sd. county should 
hold and occupy his former commission and Grade and that 
every member present, of this Committee shall henceforth as 
a Justice of the Peace. 

After reading and maturing every paragraph they were all 
passed Nem. Com. about 12 o’clock May 20, 1775, etc. 

The original manuscript is still preserved at the University 
of North Carolina. 

Later, some unknown person with the above as a basis, 
prepared the paper that was published in the Register in 
1819. The fact that some such action was taken in Meck¬ 
lenburg in 1775 was known by Col. William Polk and others; 
but some of the statements made in the published paper 
being known to be incorrect, Colonel Polk and Judge Mur- 
phey and later Judge Martin, who wrote a history of the 
State, subsequently altered the account in the paper to con¬ 
form to their views. Ten years later in 1839, in the ab¬ 
sence of anything to the contrary, on the recommendation 
of a committee, the General Assembly resolved that the 
corrected paper be printed as the proceedings in Mecklen¬ 
burg County and that has since been known as “May 20.” 

It will be observed that Colonel Alexander himself wrote 
about the “election of committeemen on the 19th of May," 
and the meeting of the committee on the same day and its 
proceedings. When his notes were being written out in full 
by some unknown person, the conflicting statements, doubt¬ 
less were observed; and to avoid the conflict, the election 
of committeemen on the 19th was omitted and that date 





DEFENSE OF NORTH CAROLINA 


273 


was erroneously attached to the meeting—the committeemen 
were changed to delegates and the committee meeting to 
a convention. Such appears to have been the origin of the 
account of any meeting on the 19th, the day when the com¬ 
mitteemen were elected. Up to 1835 there was no knowl¬ 
edge of any contemporaneous publication relating, to this 
episode, but then and afterwards the contemporaneous ac¬ 
count of the action taken at Charlotte by the Committee of 
Safety on May 31 was found in several newspapers of 
June, 1775. The proceedings and resolves being so simi¬ 
lar, it is apparent that they were what Colonel Alexander 
remembered and sought to reproduce in 1800. After these 
discoveries the account written in 1800 by some unknown 
person of a Convention of Delegates at Charlotte on May 
20, was discredited and the contemporaneous publications 
of the proceedings of the Committee of Safety elected as 
Colonel Alexander wrote were accepted; so the Legislature 
of 1850, in making reference to the “Mecklenburg Decla¬ 
ration” said “May, 1775.” In Johnston’s Cyclopedia is an 
article attributed by the editors to Governor William A. 
Graham, in which it is stated that there was only one meet¬ 
ing at Charlotte and it was held on May 31; that there 
was no meeting on May 20. 

When the publication was made in the Register in 1819 
it attracted the particular attention of John Adams and 
Thomas Jefferson, who had been promoters of independ¬ 
ence in 1776. Jefferson, in his comment, cast aspersions 
on Hooper and Hewes, our delegates in the Continental 
Congress. His charges led a patriotic citizen, Joseph Sea- 
well Jones, to prepare a Defense of North Carolina, pub¬ 
lished perhaps at the expense of Maj. William Gibbs Mc¬ 
Neill, of Bladen County, previously an officer of the United 
States Engineers, but then perhaps the greatest of the civil 
engineers of this country, resident in Boston. This Defense 
of North Carolina was the first historical publication made 

by any citizen of the State, a volume of 340 pages, con- 
18 


Johnston’s 
Cyclopedia, 
Vol. V., 329 


Jones’s de¬ 
fense 




2/4 


STEAMBOATS—FULTON ARRIVES 


Branch, 

Governor 


The portrait 
and statue of 
Washington 


Hoyt: Mur- 
phey’s Re¬ 
port 


taining much valuable historical matter then first published. 
It was a complete answer to Jefferson's aspersions, and 
Jones's work was admirably done. Later, in 1838, Jones 
published a lovely volume, Memorials of North Carolina, 
dealing with the first settlement in Queen Elizabeth’s time, 
highly imaginative and beautifully written, but indicating 
much research and literary attainment. 

When the Assembly met Yancey was chosen Speaker by 
the Senate and Saunders by the House, and Branch was 
elected Governor. 

Two portraits of General Washington had been ordered, 
one for each room occupied by the Assembly; and the mar¬ 
ble statue. One of the portraits, made by Sully, had been 
set up in the House of Commons and Governor Branch 
suggested that the order for the other might be changed to a 
portrait of some North Carolina patriot. At any rate, he 
said the portrait was too large to go into the room used for 
a Senate Chamber. As the statue of Washington was now 
soon to arrive the Assembly raised a committee to consider 
where it should be placed. At first there was a proposition 
to erect a separate building for it, but on the recommenda¬ 
tion of Mr. Nichols, the State Architect, that idea was 
abandoned. Instead, it was proposed to make alterations 
in the State House, providing suitable space for the statue, 
and also a place for the Supreme Court and a larger room for 
the Senate and other rooms for committees. This idea 
was adopted and $25,000 was appropriated for the purpose. 
The new building was to be three stories high. There was 
to be a spacious rotunda, with colonnades and ornamenta¬ 
tion in keeping with the statue. 

At this session, 1819, Mangum presented a resolution 
reciting at length many of the alleged defects of the Con¬ 
stitution and submitting the question of a convention to the 
voters. It was discussed with warmth, but finally was 
defeated. 



CHAPTER XVIII 


Improved Conditions 

The towns.—Judge Murphey on Supreme Court.—Branch’s 
message.—School at Raleigh.—The Western College.—Parlia¬ 
mentary practice.—The Agricultural Society.—The Slavery prob¬ 
lem.—The freed negroes.—The Colonization Society.—The differ¬ 
ing sentiments.—The Missouri Compromise.—Causes of concern. 
—Governor Franklin’s message.—Dissatisfaction with Fulton.— 
The Literary Fund.—Roanoke River improvement.—Statue of 
Washington placed in Capitol.—Holmes Governor.—Death of 
Franklin.—Donations to the University.—Holmes urges improve¬ 
ment of rivers and of roads and that agriculture be taught at 
University and all youths educated.—Board of Agriculture.— 
Imprisonment for debt modified.—Improvement of the Cape Fear. 
—The Western Convention.—The Episcopalians organize.—The 
first Geological Survey.—The canal from Great Falls extended 
to Weldon.—Pressure for schools.—Negroes not allowed to mus¬ 
ter as militia.—Episcopalians allowed to build on Moore Square. 

The relative importance of the towns of the State is 
somewhat indicated by the census returned for 1820. 

Fayetteville, at the head of the water navigation and the 
commercial mart for a large portion of western country, 
had 1,918 whites; New Bern, the commercial center of the 
middle east, 1,475; Raleigh, the seat of government, al¬ 
though so new, 1,177; Wilmington, with its commercial 
importance and but little back country, 1,098; Salisbury 743 ; 
Edenton 634; Washington 474. 


Changes in the Judiciary 

At the June term of the Supreme Court Judge Murphey, 
by letters missive issued by the Governor, sat on the Supreme 
Court to hear certain cases in which some of the justices 
had been employed. Later that authority was taken from 
the executive, and Judge Murphey was the only Superior 
judge who ever sat on the Supreme Court. And in that 
year some changes occurred among the judiciary, for Judge 


1820 


1820 



276 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


Judge 

Badger 


The tariff 


Senate 
Journal, 92 


Public lands 


Ibid., 93 


At Raleigh 


Murphey, after a year's service retired from the bench, 
being oppressed by pecuniary losses incurred in land specu¬ 
lations and as surety for others. To succeed him Governor 
Branch appointed William Norwood of Hillsboro. 

Also, Willie P. Mangum, who had likewise served but a 
year, resigned and was succeeded by George E. Badger, who 
was destined to play even a greater part in public affairs 
than either Murphey or Mangum. 

It appears as if the office of Superior Court judge was 
thought to be more desirable for its opportunities to lay a 
basis for public life than for a judicial career. The salary 
was so small compared with the earnings at the bar. 

Governor Branch in his message called attention to the 
deplorable condition of the people of the State and the effect 
of the depreciation of the bank currency incident to the sus¬ 
pension of specie payments, and he emphasized the adverse 
effects on conditions of an increase in the tariff. He recited 
that our agricultural products were at a very low price, and 
the State was suffering from the exactions imposed by the 
Federal Government. As a result, the Legislature adopted a 
resolution instructing the Senators and requesting the Repre¬ 
sentatives in Congress to oppose any increase in the tariff. 

And since Congress had appropriated much public land 
in the new states for schools, the Senators were instructed 
and RepresentatAes requested to have a similar appropria¬ 
tion of land for the use of public schools in North Carolina. 

Fayetteville, not to be behind Raleigh in improvement, 
now applied for and received authority to have waterworks. 
But Raleigh under the influence of Joseph Gales had taken 
a still further step in advance. The ladies of that city 
had begun an organized effort to help the poor girls and 
educate the poor children of their community similar to 
the action at Wilmington, and an act was passed:— 
“Whereas many ladies of Raleigh have associated them¬ 
selves for the purpose of relieving distressed females and 
to promote the education of poor children,” the association 



LEGISLATIVE PROCEDURE 


277 


was incorporated, the officers being “a first directress, a 
secretary and twenty managers.” 

At that session steps were taken in regard to “The Great 
State road that ran from Fayetteville to Morganton, and 
then through Ashe County to Tennessee.” 

And as the Western people were not able to send their 
boys to the University to their satisfaction, they desired a 
western college to be of the same grade as the University, 
and on their application a charter was granted for “a 
western college.” 

Governor Branch’s three years having expired, Jesse 
Franklin was now elected Governor; and as there were 
“neither carpeting nor furniture of any kind in the second 
story of the Governor’s Palace,” $1,000 was appropriated to 
supply them. 

Under the rules of the Assembly when a bill had passed 
one reading in one house it was sent to the other house, 
and then after it was acted on it was returned; and then 
when acted on, it was again sent to the other; the bill being 
bandied about for three readings in each house. Now that 
rule was abrogated, and every bill was perfected in the 
house where it originated, and having passed its three read¬ 
ings there it was transmitted to the other house for action. 

The Agricultural Society 

The Agricultural Society of the State was for a time in 
fine efficiency. Its corresponding secretary was George 
W. Jeffreys of Person County. Jeffreys was energetic in 
his efforts to promote agriculture in the State. He ob¬ 
tained a collection of some twenty or thirty letters on the 
subject of improvement in Virginia and Pennsylvania and 
in February, 1820, from Raleigh he sent them for publica¬ 
tion to the American Farmer at Baltimore, the first agricul¬ 
tural journal started in this country and a very important 
one, having a considerable patronage in North Carolina. 
These letters would make some fifty or sixty pages—quarto 


Acts 1820, 
Ch. 75 


The Western 
College 


Franklin, 

Governor 


Change in 
passing bills 


Jeffrey’s 

work 



278 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


Efforts to 

promote 

agriculture 


The manu¬ 
mission 
societies 


—and were addressed to Mr. Jeffreys. The editor, John W. 
Skinner, announced them as a “Valuable Collection from 
Colonel Taylor and John Taylor of Caroline, the Fathers of 
Improvement in Southern Husbandry; from Thomas Jef¬ 
ferson; Judge Richard Peters of Pennsylvania, Thomas 
Marshall (brother of the Chief Justice) Josiah Quincy of 
Massachusetts and other citizens distinguished for talents 
and public spirit. It seems to be due to propriety and 
gratitude to record our acknowledgments to Mr. Jeffreys for 
the honor and benefit he has conferred on this Journal in 
having selected it as a medium worthy of conveying to the 
public the contents of these valuable papers. Many of them 
were addressed to Mr. Jeffreys as Corresponding Secretary 
of the Agricultural Society in North Carolina.’’ Later 
Jeffreys communicated his thoughts on deep ploughing and 
the proper way to plant corn. Incidentally he said: “If 
I were asked what was the first and cardinal principle to be 
kept in view in the improvement of land, I should answer, 
the gradual deepening of the soil.” Unfortunately, the 
Society did not long flourish. 

Slavery: The Missouri Compromise 

During the last year of Governor Branch’s administra¬ 
tion the subject of slavery opened up a very bitter sectional 
controversy. The South was not indifferent to the general 
subject, but whatever feeling there was favorable to manu¬ 
mission was checked by the continued presence of the freed 
slave. About 1816 manumission societies began to be 
formed, chiefly, however, among the Quakers, although 
there were others cooperating. Ten years later there were 
forty branches in the State, of which twenty-three reported 
more than one thousand members. And it was said that 
in three years two thousand slaves were emancipated in 
the State, a statement that the census enumeration of free 
blacks seems to sustain. But not content with that, Levi 
Coffin, an active Quaker about New Garden, devised and 



MANUMISSION SOCIETIES 


279 


put into operation a system of running off slaves into free 
territory. This was successfully carried on for years, and, 
later, to such an extent that it was known as the “Under¬ 
ground Railroad." The problem of the free negro led in 
1818 to the formation of the American Colonization Society. 
The Assembly of North Carolina had passed a resolution 
proposing that Congress should set aside in the far west, on 
the Pacific Ocean, a territory which the free blacks might 
occupy; but the project did not materialize. The American 
Colonization Society of which Judge Bushrod Washington 
of Virginia was president, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson and 
other influential Southerners were members, had in view 
their colonization in Africa. 

In 1819 Rev. William Meade of Virginia, (Bishop 
Meade) was sent south as an agent to organize branch 
societies. He formed societies at Raleigh, where Governor 
Branch was president, Colonel Polk, Judge Taylor, Joseph 
Gales and thirty-five others were members; and societies 
were formed at Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Hills¬ 
boro, Edenton and eight other points, among the members 
being men of prominence in public affairs. 

Moses Swaim, president of the Manumission Society and 
the editor of a newspaper at Greensboro devoted to that 
interest, said about that time that “there were no newspapers 
in the State earnestly defending slavery; that about half 
the people were ready to support schemes of emancipation, 
one-sixth deemed it impracticable and relatively a small 
number were bitterly opposed." The sentiment against 
slavery was natural to many, but the difficulties of the situa¬ 
tion forbade emancipation unless accompanied by coloniza¬ 
tion. Besides, the property was valuable, and especially in 
the eastern counties most of the families were pecuniarily 
interested and, without the slaves, their extensive planta¬ 
tions would be relatively valueless for the want of labor. 
The value of a man between fifteen and forty-five years of 
age was about $500, and, of a woman, $350; and men ac- 


The North 

Carolina 

proposition 


The coloni¬ 
zation society 


The senti¬ 
ment 


Weeks: So. 
Hist. Assn., 
XI, 2, 110 




28 o 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


Missouri 


The compro 
mise 


A different 
question 


customed to slavery who had inherited slave property were 
loath to give it up. Such was the condition when slavery 
in Missouri became a political question. 

In 1820 the antagonism that New England had displayed 
towards the purchase of Louisiana again manifested itself. 
The Territory of Missouri, a part of that purchase, in 
December, 1819, applied for admission as a state, slavery 
being already established there. 

An amendment was proposed to the bill to admit her, 
looking to making her a “free state.” The North had a 
majority in the House, and the amendment was adopted; 
but in the Senate it was stricken out. About the same 
time Maine applied to be admitted, and the northern mem¬ 
bers were willing for the two states to come in together; but 
while abandoning the amendment to the Missouri bill, they 
proposed instead that slavery should not exist elsewhere in 
the Louisiana purchase north 36° 30' which is the line 
of the southern boundary of Missouri. This was agreed 
to, and the agreement has been known as the “Missouri 
Compromise.” All south of that line was to be open to 
the slaveholder; but north of it was to be “free-soil.” On 
that basis Missouri was to be admitted. But a new ques¬ 
tion arose that delayed her admission. In forming her 
State constitution the convention inserted a requirement that 
the Legislature should prohibit the coming into the State 
of any free negro. This was strongly objected to bv 
northern representatives and the State was not admitted. 
Linally in Lebruary, 1821, an act was passed admitting the 
State on condition that the Legislature should never pass 
such a law; and in June, the Legislature solemnly agreed 
to that as a fundamental condition; so in August, 1821, 
Missouri was admitted as a State in the Union. This 
struggle over the admission of Missouri, extending through 
eighteen months of hot controversy, was marked by great bit¬ 
terness, and the sectional animosity engendered ran high. 
A correspondent of Bartlett Yancey, writing from Wash- 




EXCITEMENT OVER SLAVERY 


281 


ington February, 1820, said: “In truth the discussion of this 
matter has been of the most alarming character to the people 
of the southern and western states. These Yankee folks 
have a sort of notion that they can emancipate our slaves, 
and have broadly hinted at the practicability and expediency 
of such a measure. The agitation of this question has 
created great warmth and excitement here. One would 
suppose from the storm that has been blowing here that the 
whole Nation was in a ferment.” 

Mrs. Seaton, writing from Washington during this debate, ^nt intense 
said: “Congress has been occupied during three weeks in 
the discussion of the Missouri bill. The excitement during 
this protracted debate has been intense. The galleries are 
now crowded with colored persons, almost to the exclusion 
of the whites. The Senators and members generally are so 
excited that unless their angry passions are allowed to 
effervesce in speaking the most terrible consequences are 
apprehended even by experienced statesmen. On the one 
side there was talk of breaking up the Union, on the other 
the North would never assent to the extension of slavery.” 

At length that session at which the compromise was made, 
closed in May; at the next session, the question was again 
opened, about the exclusion of free negroes in Missouri. 

Maine had long been admitted, and all wanted the bargain 
to be enforced. 

Mr. Clay was then instrumental in securing the adoption 
by the House of the act of Congress with its “fundamental 
condition” that opened the way for Missouri to conform Missouri’s 
to the will of the northern congressmen'; and he became admisslon 
known as “the pacificator.” 

Conditions at home 

The year 1821 appears to have been remarkable for cir- 1821 
cumstances that gave concern. Financial distress pervaded 
the State, and to such an extent at the west that further 
time was allowed to those who had purchased State lands; 



282 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


Insurrection 


Progressive 

ideas 


Fulton un¬ 
satisfactory 


while the- act of Congress, called the Navigation act, with 
respect to the British colonial system, bore so hard on the 
commerce of the eastern ports that a resolution was adopted 
calling on representatives in Congress to ask its repeal. 

Besides, - the yellow fever had been so violent at Wil¬ 
mington that the session of the Superior Court could not be 
held there in the fall. Then there was an insurrection 
among the negroes in Onslow, Carteret and Jones counties, 
as well as in Bladen County. There had been trouble in 
1810, and now ten years later, the outbreak was both more 
widespread and violent. The militia had been called out to 
suppress the rising, and indeed, the constant possibility of 
insurrection required that attention should ever be given to 
the militia, and a large part of the time of each Assembly 
was taken up in electing militia officers. 

At the session of November, 1821, among the new mem¬ 
bers were Francis L. Hawks, Robert Strange, Louis D. 
Henry, Charles Fisher, D. L. Barringer, John M. Morehead, 
all destined to distinction; and Otway Burns who had made 
so great a reputation on the sea. 

When Governor Franklin submitted his annual message, 
he dwelt on the hard times that were so disastrous to the 
people; and he recommended some changes in the punish¬ 
ment of criminals, especially urging that the punishment of 
cropping ears should be abolished, and that reform should 
be the object sought to be subserved. The subjects of 
public schools and of a constitutional convention were again 
before the Assembly, but without favorable action. Also, 
a proposition that President Joseph Caldwell, Prof. Mitchell 
and Prof. Olmstead should make a geological survey of the 
State and that they report observations on the climate and 
natural productions as well as the result of their survey, 
passed the House, but was defeated in the Senate. 

There was some manifestation of dissatisfaction at the 
contract with Hamilton Fulton, and a new Board of Internal 
Improvements was chosen: Isaac T. Avery, Bartlett Yancey, 




WASHINGTON STATUE SET UP 


283 


John D. Hawkins, Thomas Turner and Durant Hatch, 
Jr. It was at this session that Charles Fisher’s proposition 
to establish a Literary fund for the use of public schools 
was adopted; and although some years had to elapse before 
the hope would be realized, yet a step forward was made. 
Charles Fisher again brought up the subject of a consti¬ 
tutional convention. The debate was continued during 
several days, but finally, the resolution was defeated in the 
House by 81 to 47, while in the Senate Mr. Williamson’s 
proposition to the same end was lost 23 to 36. 

The proposition to improve Roanoke Inlet now was in so 
much favor that a company was incorporated to undertake 
the work. 

The statue of Washington 

Governor Franklin, on November 24, informed the Legis¬ 
lature that the statue of Washington had been transported 
to Boston on the U. S. Ship Columbus , Commodore Bain- 
bridge, “to whose care and attention I am greatly indebted, 
particularly for -its transportation from Boston harbor to 
Wilmington, where it now is.” He was then concerting 
measures for its conveyance to Raleigh. The Assembly 
thereupon appointed a committee to attend to its transpor¬ 
tation to Raleigh and to its being placed in position in the 
Capitol building. The statue was carried by water to 
Fayetteville. When it reached Fayetteville the State Archi¬ 
tect, William Nichols, designed and constructed two special 
vehicles for its transportation to Raleigh, one for the statue 
the other for its base. These vehicles were drawn by many 
oxen, and the transportation was slow; but eventually the 
train approached Raleigh on December 24. 

The statue was temporarily left on the grounds of the 
Governor’s mansion, and then with a great manifestation of 
public interest it was conveyed to the State House. A 
procession was formed, and as it started, a battery of artil¬ 
lery fired 24 guns, and the band played patriotic airs. The 


Literary 

fund 


House 
Journal, 87 


Roanoke 

Inlet 


The proces¬ 
sion 




284 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


The statue 


Holmes, 

Governor 


The Uni¬ 
versity lands 


Adjutant-General was in charge, and following the band 
were troops, citizens, members of the Assembly, heads of the 
departments, the Governor; Revolutionary officers, of whom 
Colonel Polk was designated to carry the United States Flag. 
Then came the vehicles with the statue and base, under the 
immediate care of Mr. Nichols. At the Capitol Colonel 
Polk made a brief address and the architect placed the 
statue in position in the rotunda designed for it. 

While Cariova regarded this work as the most important 
that could engage his great powers and while the execution 
was in his finest style; yet he seems to have indulged his 
genius and to have idealized his subject rather than adhered 
closely to the life mask with which he had been provided. 
Posterity knows Washington from the portraits made in 
his old age; Canova presented him as a younger man, his 
features not having the expression the world is familiar 
with. 

It was a majestic figure in which were idealized the 
noblest cpialities of mortal man; and, in its finish, it was one 
of the best examples of Canova’s unequaled excellence in his 
art of perfect moulding and polishing his marble. That 
North Carolina possessed such a treasure gained for the 
State the admiration of America. It was the masterpiece 
of the sculptor’s art and without an equal among the monu¬ 
ments of the world. 

Governor Franklin having declined a reelection, Joseph 
Bryan, James Mebane, H. G. Burton and Gabriel Holmes 
were aspirants for the succession. Holmes, of the Cape 
Fear section, was taken. 

Franklin now retired from public life and about a year 
later died at his home in Surry County. His mother was 
a sister of the Revolutionary patriot, Col. Benjamin Cleve¬ 
land, and one of his sons, Meshack Franklin, was later a 
Representative in Congress. 

North Carolina before the cession of Tennessee had set 
aside a certain territorv bevond the mountains for the 





UNIVERSITY LANDS 


285 


location of Revolutionary land grants. Difficulties later 
arose concerning these grants. In 1792 Governor Benja¬ 
min Smith had given to the University 30,000 acres of land 
in Tennessee, and Maj. Charles Gerrard of Carteret County 
had likewise given it 2,560 acres, and the University was 
entitled to other lands by escheat. In 1819 Judge Mur- 
phey and Hon. J. H. Bryan were employed to look after 
the interest of the University, and they were reasonably 
successful. 

The management of these western lands was now confided 
to a committee composed of the Governor, Col. Wm. Polk, 
Henry Potter, John Haywood, Archibald Murphey and 
Thomas Ruffin. Col. Thomas Henderson,' editor of the 
Raleigh News, was employed as agent, and by October, 
1821, he was able to turn over to the University, beyond 
his compensation, warrants for 147,853 acres. The lands 
were valued at about four dollars an acre. The University, 
however, met with further difficulties, but in May, 1823, it 
had the prospect of receiving $164,230. Other warrants 
were in addition to these. This situation seemed to put the 
institution on a very substantial basis and gave a great deal 
of satisfaction at that period. 

Water transportation 

Governor Holmes, in his message, said that for several 
years we have had the services of an able engineer, who 
has explored our rivers, pointed out the obstructions to 
their navigation and given instructions as to how they were 
to be removed, a zealous and intelligent board, pushing 
the projects by all the means in their power, and still their 
progress has been so gradual as to be almost imperceptible. 
“The reason is obvious, we have not concentrated our money 
in sums sufficiently large to effect the objects to which it 
has been applied. . . . Had our limited funds been origi¬ 
nally directed to a few points of primary and general impor¬ 
tance, and not dispersed in small sums throughout the State, 


Battle: Hist. 
Univ., I, 

382, 387 




286 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


House 

Journal, 

1822, p. 108 


Board of 
Agriculture 


Imprison 
ment for 
debt 


the result would have been more beneficial to every section. 

. . . For instance, if the channel of the Cape Fear between 
Wilmington and the bar could have been deepened, so as 
to allow the passage of vessels without the aid of lighters it 
would have been better. But by dividing our strength so 
much in attempting to effect everything at once, we have 
effected comparatively nothing.” 

The Governor then turned from water transportation and 
dwelt on opening and improving the roads. He also urged 
that agriculture should be taught at the University that 
was now flourishing as never before, and he strenuously 
advocated the education of all the youths of the State. 
“Let us do something, however little; it may prove in time 
a grain of mustard seed.” 

The Legislature having sought to inaugurate means of 
transportation, now in agreement with Governor Holmes 
gave some heed to improvement in agriculture. It estab¬ 
lished a Board of Agriculture to be composed of the presi¬ 
dents of the several county agricultural societies, and it 
appropriated $5,000 a year for the promotion of agricul¬ 
ture and domestic manufactures. It provided for premiums 
for products, and for the publication and dissemination of 
reports and essays on agriculture. Agricultural societies 
had already been established in some of the counties, and 
now other counties fell into line and efforts were made to 
improve the agriculture of the State. 

The old English law that a debtor could be imprisoned 
for his debts had ever been in force in the State. In 1822, 
the Legislature, having regard to the obligations of con¬ 
tracts, but desirous of putting an end to that severe provision 
of law, passed an act that “Any honest debtor may sur¬ 
render his property and not be subject to imprisonment 
for any debt contracted after May 1, 1823,” and this was 
followed the next year by an act forbidding the imprison¬ 
ment of anv woman for anv debt. 





GETTING RID OF FULTON 


287 


The improvement of the rivers had been so unproductive 
of beneficial results and the salary and expenses of Fulton 
and his assistant, Brazier, had been so large, while the value 
of produce had fallen low and the people were in such dis¬ 
tress that there was now a '‘necessity of offering a placebo to 
the public mind, a portion of which is now much irritated 
against the system” of river improvement; and it was there¬ 
fore proposed by a committee investigating the conditions, 
that Fulton’s salary be reduced $500 and that a part of his 
time be allowed to other states. Altogether by December, 
1822, Fulton had cost the State $19,293 and Brazier $5,067. 
Fulton’s salary had been over $5,333 besides expenses. 
The House passed a resolution directing the board to re¬ 
duce Fulton’s salary to $3,300, and if he declined to accept 
that, to give him six months notice and let him retire. Also 
a bill having been passed to improve the Cape Fear River 
below Wilmington, a memorial was prepared asking Con¬ 
gress to have that work done or to allow the State to levy 
tolls on commerce to reimburse the State for the expenses. 

Among the leading men in the Senate were Duncan 
Cameron, J. J. McKay, Spaight and Seawell, and in the 
House were Robert Strange, Charles Fisher, A. H. Shep- 
perd and D. L. Barringer. When the election for Senator 
came on, Governor Branch was taken. 


Fulton’s 

salary 


Senate 
Journal, 94 


Branch, 

Senator 


The Western Convention 

The movement for a constitutional convention started by 
Murphey’s report in 1816 had been revived at various times 
by members from the west. Duncan Cameron, Judge 
Mangum, John A. Cameron of Fayetteville and Charles 
Fisher were among those who introduced resolutions with¬ 
out avail. At length, in 1822, a bill was introduced to 
create the new county of Davidson out of the northern por¬ 
tion of Rowan, and it passed, there being no eastern county 
created at the time. This being done by the aid of eastern 
votes, raised a great clamor against the eastern men who 





288 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


Biog. Hist., 
IV, 330 


The west 
elects dele¬ 
gates 


House 

Journal, 128 


had so voted. One of these was Senator William Miller, 
the former Governor, a man of sterling worth and a de¬ 
voted patriot. At the next election he offered again for 
the Assembly, but his opponent, Gen. M. T. Hawkins, 
pressed the point against him, that he had sacrificed the 
east, that a convention could be called and controlled by 
the west, and “we would lose our Constitution.” Miller 
was defeated and the other eastern members who had 
followed him in the vote shared the same fate. Indeed, 
the east was alarmed, for in the closing days of the session 
of 1822 a caucus of western members was held at which 
it was determined to hold a convention of those who were in 
sympathy with the west. Twenty-four counties sent dele¬ 
gates who met at Raleigh just before the Assembly convened 
in 1823. Gen. Montfort Stokes presided. For a week 
the convention sat, and proposed amendments to the Con¬ 
stitution. The proceedings were orderly and the proposi¬ 
tion of the West might well have been agreed to. As the 
convention adjourned the Assembly met. As soon as it 
was organized Robert Martin of Rockingham offered a 
resolution in the House reciting the election of delegates to 
the convention and their action, and proposing to raise a 
special committee to report a bill to submit the proposed 
amendments to the popular vote. But the House did not 
take favorable action. 


The Lutherans and Moravians 

The thousands of German Lutherans who had before the 
Revolution settled between the Yadkin and the Catawba 
were accompanied by their pastors, who in time died, leaving 
unsupplied vacancies—but in 1803, after the great religious 
revival, the synod was established, and in 1811 another 
revival was started and missionaries were sent out. Not¬ 
withstanding the emigration of many beyond the Ohio, the 
Lutherans maintained their organization—measurably con¬ 
ducting their services in German. And so had the Mora- 






EPISCOPALIANS ORGANIZE 


289 


vians, who had zealously adhered to their faith and had 
multiplied their congregations. Both of these streams of set¬ 
tlers, making separate communities that in the practice of 
handicraft were self-sufficient, established centers of educa¬ 
tion that perpetuated their culture differentiating them 
from the usual settlements in isolated sections. 

The Episcopalians organize 

On the the 5th of June, 1790, two clergymen, Rev. Charles 
Pettigrew and Rev. James L. Wilson, and two laymen met 
at Tarboro and held the first Protestant Episcopal conven¬ 
tion and, in accordance with resolutions then adopted, a con¬ 
vention was held at Tarboro on November 12, following. 
At this meeting there seems to have been six or seven clergy¬ 
men present and seven laymen. Annual meetings were pro¬ 
vided for, but not held. In November, 1793, three clergy¬ 
men and three laymen niet and called a convention to be 
held the next May, when seven clergymen and nine laymen 
attended and a constitution was formally adopted. In 1807 
Mr. Pettigrew died, and others having died, in 1815 there 
was no Episcopal clergyman in the State—and no conven¬ 
tion met until 1817, when one was held by three clergy¬ 
men and six or eight laymen at New Bern under Bishop 
Moore of Virginia, who had been invited to take charge of 
the diocese. Then others followed. The attendance an¬ 
nually increased until there were 25 parishes represented. 
It is to be remarked that the Lutherans and Episcopalians 
for some years sent delegates to each other’s meetings. 
In 1823 the convention elected Rev. John Starke Ravens- 
croft of Virginia, Bishop, who accepted, and that branch 
of the Christian Church which had ceased to exist as an 
organization on the breaking out of the Revolution was 
again fully organized in the State. 


1823 


19 



290 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


Acts 1823, 
Ch. 14 


House 

Journal, 118 


Jetties below 
Wilmington 


Canal at 
Weldon 


The first geological survey 

Under the stimulus of the necessity to have surveys made 
with the view of an intelligent understanding of conditions 
bearing on water transportation, Dr. Mitchell and Prof. 
Olmstead as well as Jonathan Price, who had made and 
published a map of the State, were employed in that work. 
To meet these expenditures and to pay its subscription for 
river improvements, the Legislature directed the issue of 
$100,000 of State notes and, having started on the road to 
progress, it now directed the Board of Agriculture to have 
made a geographical and mineralogical survey of the State. 

The board was authorized to employ a person of skill and 
science to make such a survey. For this $250 a year was 
allowed. Denison Olmstead, Professor of Chemistry and 
Mineralogy was employed, and made a report, the first 
made of any state, and in 1825 he was made Director of the 
State Geological Survey. However, he soon resigned and 
returned to Yale where he became very distinguished in his 
profession. Thereupon the work was continued by Dr. 
Mitchell, who likewise made a report on the geology of the 
State. 

When the Assembly met Governor Holmes, still pressing 
the subject of agriculture, urged the establishment of an ex¬ 
perimental farm at the University. 

The contractors to erect jetties below Wilmington for 
river improvement were Richard Taylor and Edward Wil¬ 
liams, but they employed Hinton James to do the work; the 
cost was to be $15,000. James was the first student to 
enter the University and became an engineer. The Gov¬ 
ernor was highly pleased with the operations that prom¬ 
ised very beneficial results. The Roanoke Navigation Com¬ 
pany had extended the canal from the Great Falls to the 
Weldon orchard. From the orchard to the river there was 
a portage and the Governor recommended continuing the 
canal to the river. There was so much enthusiasm over 



AGITATION FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS 


291 


navigation that now a proposition was seriously made for 
a canal from the Falls of the Neuse to Swift Creek. 

The agitation for public schools, begun with emphasis 
by Murphey, had proceeded year by year, but the subject 
was considered less pressing than the transportation prob¬ 
lem ; now new impetus was given to it by the proposition 
that Congress should apportion to the old states public lands 
in the immense territorial domain of the Union. Besides, 
possibly, the Assemblymen were urged on by an object 
lesson in their sight at Raleigh, where the Female Benevo¬ 
lent Society, fostered by Gales, had already established a 
school for the poor children. Year by year additional in¬ 
terest was manifested, and now the scholarly Joseph A. 
Hill of New Hanover brought forward a resolution in¬ 
structing the Committee on Education to report a bill for 
public schools, which was passed. The House seemed to 
be responsive. 

Free negroes had all along been required to do militia 
duty as other citizens, but now the attitude of the races be¬ 
came so changed that the question of prohibiting them from 
attending at musters was brought before the Assembly. 
However, the subject was not acted on. The Governor 
extolled the previous Legislature for its action in abolishing 
imprisonment for debt and urged a further amendment 
of the ancient law by abolishing “the cropping of ears” as a 
punishment, as his predecessor had done; and he likewise 
suggested that “whipping” be abolished and that the pun¬ 
ishment for theft should not be equal to that for murder; 
and he again urged the establishment of a penitentiary. 

Since 1815 the election of Presidential electors had been 
by a general ticket; now it was proposed to elect by dis¬ 
tricts, but unavailingly. And the western members again 
brought up their grievances to a deaf house. 


1823 


Movement 
for schools 




292 


IMPROVED CONDITIONS 


The vestry of the Episcopal Church at Raleigh was 
authorized to erect a temporary building on the southwest 
corner of Moore Square for worship; but a motion “to 
adjourn over on the anniversary of the birthday of our 
Saviour” failed—yeas 7, nays 103, and that at a time when 
specie payments were suspended and there was much finan¬ 
cial distress and much sickness throughout the State. 




CHAPTER XIX 


Lafayette—Carlton Letters 

The Congressional caucus.—The People’s Ticket.—Jackson and 
Calhoun.—Election by the House.—Clay elects Adams.—Clay’s 
reason.—The era of good will.—The “New School.”—The Cape 
Fear improved.—Free negroes go to Hayti.—Congress and State 
reject negroes for military service.—Ashe and Hill offer bills 
for schools.—The House appoints commissioners to prepare a 
plan.—The visit of Lafayette.—The agitation for public schools. 
—Sunday schools in Orange.—The schools at Wilmington and 
Raleigh.—The educated men.—Charles Hill’s bill.—The Literary 
Fund.—The report of the Taylor Commission.—A new Board of 
Internal Improvements.—Fulton resigns.—The Legislature acts. 
—Emancipation propositions.—The Legislature to meet last 
Monday of December.—Judge Badger resigns, succeeded by Ruf¬ 
fin.—Fauntleroy Taylor Attorney-General.—Governor Burton 
urges better transportation facilities to cure emigration.—Ver¬ 
mont’s resolutions.—The Legislature prohibits free negroes from 
settling in the State.—Roanoke iS'teamboat Company.—McRae’s 
map.—Other publications.—The Geological Survey.—The gold 
fever.—The Carson-Vance duel.—The tariff question.—The Bill 
of Abominations.—Popular sentiment against governmental aid. 
—The Carlton letters.—Caldwell urges a railroad.—His wonder¬ 
ful excellence.—The North Carolina Institution for Deaf and 
Dumb.—Lotteries.—Governor Iredell.—Murphey employs Ney.— 
The Masons. 

The election of 1824 

It had been the practice for twenty-four years for the 
Representatives in Congress to hold a caucus and recom¬ 
mend candidates for the presidency. But now the friends 
of some of the aspirants raised objections to that course. 
The aspirants were Adams, Crawford of Georgia, Calhoun, 
Clay and Jackson. The first three were in Monroe’s cab¬ 
inet; Clay had been the Speaker of the House, and Jackson 
was a military hero and then in the Senate; all 
but Adams were southerners and strong Republicans. 
Crawford was the favorite of most of the southern Rep- 


1824 


1825 


1827 


1824 


294 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


1824 


The People’s 
Ticket 


The election 
goes to the 
House 


resentatives. He was also the favorite of the Assemblymen. 
But Charles Fisher was opposed to Crawford, and so he 
introduced in the House of Commons a strong protest and 
resolutions against a congressional caucus presenting a can¬ 
didate for the presidency. This was debated with great 
interest; but it failed to be adopted by a vote of 46 to 82. 
It was aimed against Crawford, who was strong in the State, 
and before the Assembly adjourned his friends met and put 
out an electoral ticket for him; and, later, the friends of the 
other candidates put out “A People’s Ticket,” those named 
on it engaging by agreement to support in the college that 
candidate who stood the best chance of defeating Crawford. 

On February 14 the congressional caucus was held at 
Washington. Macon and Conner of Catawba did not at¬ 
tend, although Macon was a supporter of Crawford. In¬ 
deed, not a fourth of the members attended as it was a 
movement for Crawford and the friends of the other can¬ 
didates gave it no countenance. Soon afterwards Calhoun 
agreed to accept the vice-presidency under Jackson, who 
had developed great popular strength; and Crawford suf¬ 
fered a stroke of paralysis, and later became almost blind, 
so that his physical condition apparently incapacitated him. 
While the State was divided into fifteen districts, the 
election of electors was by the State at large. The People’s 
ticket won by a vote of 20,177 over the Crawford ticket, 
which polled 15,396, and the electoral vote of 15 was given 
to Jackson. The entire popular vote as far as ascertained 
was for Adams 108,740, chiefly from the North, Jackson 
153,544, Clay 47,136, Crawford only 46,618. In the elec¬ 
toral college Jackson had 99 votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41 
and Clay 37. The election was thus thrown into the House, 
each state having a single vote. Clay could not be consid¬ 
ered in the House, and he gave the vote of Kentucky to 
Adams, notwithstanding the legislature of that state had 
expressed a preference for Jackson. After a long struggle 
Adams was elected. 



ERA OF GOOD WILL 


295 


On retiring from office, March 7, 1829, Clay indicated 
that he was afraid that the military hero, Jackson, would 
seize the reins of power and become a dictator. “I thought 
I beheld in his election an awful foreboding of the fate 
which was to befall this infant republic.” 

This was the era of good will, so in the Governor’s ad¬ 
dress he said: “The general expressions of approbation 
which all parties are constrained to make of the present ad¬ 
ministration is an evidence of the wisdom and a proud com¬ 
ment on the justice and impartiality of our enlightened 
chief magistrate. His equanimity and liberal views have 
reconciled the two great contending parties, diffusing 
throughout the Republic mildness, concord and brother¬ 
hood.” 

Still there were divergences among the public men. The 
“new school,” embracing Adams, Clay and their followers, 
wrote Mangum, “has taken the principles of the Old Feder¬ 
alists but press their principles much further; especially 
in the latitudinous construction of the Constitution.” 

Governor Holmes’s three years had now expired, and 
nominations for a successor included Hutchins G. Burton 
of Halifax, Montfort Stokes, Alfred Moore, Simmons J. 
Baker and Isaac T. Avery. Several ballots were taken and 
at length Burton was chosen. 

Governor Holmes reported that the principal work of 
Mr. Fulton and the Board of Internal Improvements as to 
rivers had been confined to the Cape Fear River; that 
“below Wilmington the result was excellent, and that 
steamboats now ran 60 miles above Wilmington at the 
lowest water, and within a year they are expected to ply 
to Fayetteville at the lowest water.” But while expecting 
similar improvement in all the rivers he urged the impor¬ 
tance of good roads. Likewise, he again urged reform 
of the criminal laws and the opening of public schools. 
He mentioned that the great number of slaves lately eman¬ 
cipated had led to a considerable emigration to Hayti, and 


Clay’s 
Speeches, I, 
561 


The new 
school 


1824 


Burton, 

Governor 


On the 
Cape Fear 






296 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


Negroes not 
soldiers 


Ashe's Bill 


House 
Journal, 28 


Ibid., 138 


he suggested that the State should be protected from any 
return of these negroes; but it was considered that the ex¬ 
isting law was sufficient. The negro question had found its 
way also into Congress. Should free negroes be soldiers? 
Congress passed an act excluding them from bearing arms 
as soldiers, and the Legislature in conformity now directed 
that the names of free negroes be stricken from the militia 
muster rolls. Such was the beginning of an interesting 
question, was a negro a citizen? In North Carolina, at 
least, he could vote, when free. 

Quickly following the meeting of the Assembly, Sam 
Porter Ashe offered a resolution for the establishment of 
schools for the education of the poor; requiring the Com¬ 
mittee on Education to report a plan for a permanent fund 
and to report a system for such schools. And in the Senate, 
Charles A. Hill of Franklin reported a bill of like tenor 
that passed the Senate 38 to 16. The House was, however, 
averse to such action; nevertheless, in the closing days of 
the session the House passed a resolution appointing Chief 
Justice Taylor, President Caldwell, Judge Duncan Cameron 
and Peter Browne commissioners to prepare a plan or sys¬ 
tem of public instruction of poor children, and report the 
same to the next Assembly. 

The legislation of previous years had proved effective, 
and numerous agricultural societies had been formed in the 
counties; and now the Assembly extended the act of 1822 
for two years longer. 

Nor was the Assembly indifferent to the health of the 
people. In 1824 an act was passed to prevent the intro¬ 
duction into communities of contagious diseases, and in¬ 
vesting the local authorities with power to take all precau¬ 
tionary measures. 


Visit of Lafayette 

Great interest was felt in the proposed visit of Lafayette. 
Governor Holmes dispatched Gen. Robert R. Johnson to 






VISIT OF LAFAYETTE 


wait on Lafayette at Yorktown and formally invite him to 
visit the State; and it was understood that the General 
would arrive at Raleigh about December 20. The Assembly 
therefore appointed a committee to attend the honored 
guest, and an appropriation was made to meet the expenses. 
But the movements of the General were so far different 
that he did not cross the North Carolina line until Feb¬ 
ruary 27, 1825. He was met at Northampton Courthouse 
by Chief Justice Taylor, Col. William Polk, Gen. William 
Williams of Warren, Col. J. G. A. Williamson of Person, 
General Daniels and Major Stanly, representatives of the 
State for that purpose. He was received with much 
warmth there and also at Halifax. On approaching Raleigh 
on March 2, he was received by Captain Ruffin’s company 
of Blues and the Mecklenburg troop of cavalry. He was 
entertained at the Governor’s mansion by Governor Burton. 
He was later conducted to the State House where he viewed 
the statue of Washington; and there he was addressed by 
Colonel Polk in behalf of the citizens of the town, and the 
ovation given him at the State’s capital was as perfect as 
could be desired. Accompanied by his son, George Wash¬ 
ington Lafayette, after two days passed at Raleigh, he took 
the route to Fayetteville, escorted by the Mecklenburg cav¬ 
alry and the delegation appointed by the State for that pur¬ 
pose. Fayetteville had been so named in his honor: a cir¬ 
cumstance that appealed to him, and his visit there was 
greatly enjoyed. Ten miles from Fayetteville he was met by 
the Fayetteville companies, and at Clarendon bridge by the 
mayor and commissioners, and a procession was formed of 
the troops, and amidst the joyful roar of artillery he was es¬ 
corted into the town named in his honor many years earlier. 
There was a great demonstration in token of the admiration 
and affection of the citizens; and then the General had to 
hurry forward to Cheraw where he was to officiate in laying 
the cornerstone of the monument to the heroic DeKalb, 
who fell there in defense of North Carolina. At that time, 


1825 



298 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


1825 


Sunday 

schools 


as described by the Rev. Robert C. Belden, the General 
w as “somewhat corpulent, above medium stature and broad 
shouldered." He evidently retained his vigor well. The 
son, George Washington, was a fine specimen of a man, 
well proportioned, graceful in carriage and of easy manners. 
He had earlier passed some time in this country and was 
familiar with our American customs. 

Tlie first step for public schools 

The agitation for the public schools was continuous, but 
the subject was considered less pressing than that of im¬ 
proving transportation facilities, and it is noteworthy that 
the members of the House of Commons representing man¬ 
hood were not so eager to adopt a system as those of the 
Senate representing property. Annually the Governors 
urged the establishment of public schools, and bills would 
be introduced in each House. Sometimes the Senate would 
act favorably on such measures, but the House would re¬ 
ject the bills. At length at the session, November, 1822, 
an impetus was given to the subject by a movement among 
some of the original states to have Congress apportion to 
them a part of the public domain for an educational fund, 
as was the settled policy and practice with regard to the new 
states. A strong and urgent memorial to that end was 
drawn to be presented to Congress and communicated to 
the other states requesting their cooperation. Should that 
succeed, the object would be accomplished; but Congress 
took no action. In the meantime, the benevolence of com¬ 
munities began to find expression. In 1817 there was 
formed at Wilmington a society, of which Eliza Lord was 
the head, to secure to poor children and destitute orphans 
a moral and religious as well as a common school education. 
A few years earlier Sunday schools had been started in 
England at which poor children were taught to read and 
write and given religious instruction, and such schools were 




SUNDAY SCHOOLS 


299 


begun in some of the states, and in some of the counties of 
this State. In a memorial to the Assembly in 1825, it was 
stated: “The Sunday School Society of Orange County has 
under its care twenty-two schools, in which are instructed 
from 800 to 1,000 children, many of whom, the children of 
the poor who would otherwise have been brought up in In Orange 
utter ignorance and vice, have been taught to read and write 
and trained to habits of moral reflection and conduct.” 

The memorialists asked for twenty-five cents for every 
Sunday learner in that county and for all the other Sunday 
schools in the State. Among the memorialists were Judge 
Webb, Judge Norwood, Judge Nash and .others distin¬ 
guished in public and civil life. While taught on Sunda}', 
the lessons were in the three R’s. 

At Raleigh there was a school where some fifty children At Raleigh 
were taught. These were not merely instructed on Sunday 
but regularly five days during the week. The society that 
maintained this school purchased materials which poor fe¬ 
males were employed to spin and weave, the clothes being 
sold for the use of the society, and a school was kept for 
the instruction of the children. But notwithstanding these 
and similar object lessons in other parts of the State, and 
notwithstanding the urgent appeals of the press, all propo¬ 
sitions to raise funds by taxation or otherwise for common 
school purposes had been regularly defeated. 

The public men 

At that period there was no lack of great, strong men in 
the State. Some of the Revolutionary patriots still lin¬ 
gered on the stage and there was a bevy of younger men 
of particular merit. Judge Duncan Cameron stood high 
among them; Chief Justice Taylor, Gaston, Iredell, Mur- 
phey, Ruffin, the Hendersons, Mangum, Badger, Meares, 

Bedford Brown, Strange, the Hills, Hawkins, Wilson, Cald¬ 
well, Henry, Edmund Jones, Morehead and others were 
men cast in a superior mould; nor should it be assumed that 



300 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


Attendance 
on academies 


Educational 

fund 


1825 


The plan 
reported 


the absence of public education caused a blight upon the 
intelligence of the public men. North Carolina had not 
been different from the other states. Her sons were equal 
to the best. She stood well abreast of the other states in 
the matter of higher education. The census shows that in 
1840 she had 8,335 pupils in the academies and colleges. 
Allowing a four years course, every year 2,000 young men 
entered upon the activities of life and aided in diffusing gen¬ 
eral intelligence; and similarly, among the mothers. In¬ 
deed it was said in 1824, '‘Perhaps we have in our State 
more schools for the languages and sciences than the cir¬ 
cumstances of. the country call for." 

When the Senate organized in 1825, Charles A. Hill, 
W. M. Sneed, Geo. L. Dawson, Edmund Jones and M. T. 
Hawkins were appointed the Committee on Education and 
Primary Schools. They soon reported a bill providing for 
a fund for the establishment of public schools, vesting the 
same in a literary board created by the act. The fund 
embraced certain dividends, the unexpended balance of the 
agricultural swamp lands, twenty-one hundred dollars in 
cash, and some other resources. When the accumulation 
should be sufficient the proceeds were to be used for 
schools. This bill passed both Houses, but while it was a 
beginning of an earnest endeavor for public schools, years 
were to pass before the income was sufficient for any prac¬ 
tical purpose. 

At that session a report was made by the commission ap¬ 
pointed the year before to prepare a plan of public education. 
It was a well considered plan, proposing that the justices 
of each county should borrow money for the purpose and 
lay a tax to meet the interest, but as yet the Assembly was 
not ready to lay a tax for the education of the poor. Nor 
would they appropriate money to promote literary efforts; 
when aid was desired for the publication of a history of 
the State by Judge Murphev, they instead authorized him to 
have a lottery. At that period the taxes were low and the 




TAXATION AND TRANSPORTATION 


301 


aversion to taxation was positive. In February, 1827, Mr. 
King of Iredell introduced a bill for the encouragement of 
Sunday schools as follows: “Whenever a Sunday school is 
established the object of which is to instruct poor and indi¬ 
gent children in the art of reading and writing, the Treasury 
was to pay twenty-five cents for each child.” But the bill 
failed. On the other hand, a bill was offered to repeal the 
act establishing the Literary Fund. However, on this an 
adverse report was made by Morehead, chairman. More- 
head declared that “states having the means at command 
are morally criminal if they neglect to contribute to each 
citizen that individual usefulness and helpfulness which 
arises from a well-cultured understanding. . . . Your com¬ 
mittee believe that it is the duty and the interest of North 
Carolina to instruct that part of her population who do not 
possess the means of acquiring a useful education.” 

Taxation 

1 he valuation of lands and property was left to two ap¬ 
praisers appointed each year by the justices of the county, 
and a magistrate. The owner gave in a list of his prop¬ 
erty. The State tax was six dollars on the hundred acres. 
The county justices levied such taxes as they thought 
necessary. 

Transportation 

The efforts to improve water transportation had been 
disappointing. Nearly half of the. Assembly and a large 
proportion of the inhabitants felt aggrieved at the salary 
paid to the engineer, Fulton, and at every session there 
were propositions to reduce it which such able and far¬ 
sighted leaders as Judge Cameron were able to defeat, 
leaving it to the board to manage the matter. Finallv, in 
1824, the attack took a new turn and entirely new members 
were elected to compose the board. James Iredell of the 


1825 


Fulton re¬ 
tires 



302 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


1825 


House 

Journal, 


Albemarle section, Edward B. Dudley and Col. Daniel M. 
Forney of Lincoln County were elected and, with the Gov¬ 
ernor, were now to have control of internal improvements. 
This action was based on the complaint that much money 
had been unnecessarily expended and the works were im¬ 
properly conducted. Mr. Fulton thereupon resigned. But 
the Assembly had hopes of improving the rivers without 
his aid, and it directed that a steam dredge should be bought 
and $6,000 was appropriated to clear out the flats below 
Wilmington; and the Cotton Plant Steamboat Company 
was incorporated to run boats on the Cape Fear. But 
thoughts now turned to the highways and the Board of 
Internal Improvements was urged to further the construc¬ 
tion of turnpikes even by subscribing in some cases one- 
half of the necessary stock. 

Emancipation 

The Governor laid before the Assembly resolutions pro¬ 
posed by Ohio “for the gradual emancipation of slaves and 
the colonization of free people of color” which had been 
highly approved by the Legislatures of Indiana, Delaware, 
Connecticut and Illinois. In regard to this proposition, the 
ioo Governor made but a single remark that he indulged the 
hope that the nonslaveholding states will shortly learn and 
practice what has familiarly been termed the Eleventh 
Commandment: “Let every one attend to his own concerns.” 

Similarly a proposition to repeal so much of the act of 
1741 as required that negro apprentices should be taught 
to read and write was defeated, the Legislature adhering 
to its position taken in 1818, when William B. Meares of 
Wilmington offered a bill “to prevent all persons from 
teaching slaves to read and write, the use of figures- ex¬ 
cepted,” and it was defeated. The Quakers at their annual 
meeting in the fall of 1825, resolved to inaugurate a move¬ 
ment to remove the colored people held by them that were 
willing to leave this country. Their effort had this result: 



EMANCIPATION OF SLAVES 


303 


120 went to Hayti, 316 to Liberia and 100 to Ohio and 
Indiana. They were to sail from Beaufort in June, 1826. 

The society had earlier sent off 64 to Ohio and 58 to Liberia. 

In June, Judge Badger, after four years on the Superior 
Court bench, resigned and Thomas Ruffin was appointed Judo . eRuffin 
by Governor Burton to fill the vacancy temporarily. The 
Assembly at its session elected him. While he had earlier 
served two years, this return to the bench marked the be- 1826 
ginning of a judicial career of unrivaled luster in the State. 

On January 2, 1826, William Drew of Halifax, having 
served six years as Attorney-General, was not a candidate Taylor 6 ™ 7 
for reelection. James F. Taylor, Daniel L. Barringer and 
G. E. Spruill were in nomination. Mr. Taylor was elected. 

He was originally of Chatham, but having moved to Wake, 
was in 1823 a member of the House from that county. He 
had married Miss Manning who had been a member of the 
family of Judge Gaston’s mother and on her death a mem¬ 
ber of Chief Justice Taylor’s household; so, although there 
was no connection between the two Taylors, Judge Gaston 
was intimately associated with the two Mesdames Taylor. 

As the date for the meeting of the Assembly was not 
entirely satisfactory a change was now made. The next 
meeting was to be on the last Monday in December, and 
thereafter it was to be on the second Monday in January, 
but that was not found convenient and was discontinued. 

Governor Burton, in his message, made reference to the 
disastrous year, the result of a severe drought, saying that a bad year 
“the chastening hand of an all wise Providence has come 
heavily on particular sections of our State.” He strongly 
urged primary public education and then in connection with 
internal improvements, said: “We all know that in partic¬ 
ular sections of the State, the greatest distress is at present 
apprehended among the poorer classes of our citizens from 
the deficiency of the various crops.” He urged “Facilitate 
intercourse between the different sections of the State. . . . 

Open your water-courses, repair your old roads and make 



304 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


Emigration 


Outside 

interference 


What is a 
negro? 


Progressive 

steps 


Dec. 1826 


new ones, then the failure of crops in some few counties 
would not have the effect of thinning a population already 
too much scattered and diminished. . . . What can stay the 
tide of emigration now flowing to the west but the im¬ 
provement of our own State?" Indeed emigration was 
directly attributed to the want of facilities to get products 
to market, the cost of transportation being more than the 
market value. 

Vermont had adopted a resolution that “slavery was an 
evil and that Vermont would concur in any measure-adopted 
by the general government for its abolition that would be 
consistent with the rights of the people and the general 
harmony.” With regard to this, the Governor “deplored 
outside interference, as tending to incite insurrection and 
resulting in a reversal of the prevailing policy at the South 
of ameliorating the condition of the negroes,” and he sug¬ 
gested that as other states were now prohibiting free negroes 
from settling in them, so should this State in self protection, 
do the same. The Assembly in response passed an act 
prohibiting free negroes from settling in this State, and it 
declared “All free mulattoes descended from negro ancestors 
to the fourth generation inclusive, though one ancestor in 
each generation may have been a white person, come within 
the meaning of this act.” 

Public roads were directed to be laid off, among them the 
State road in Surry County and in Wilkes County from 
Lincolnton to Rutherfordton and from Salisbury to Lin- 
colnton. Money was appropriated for the Clubfoot Canal 
and for the Cape Fear River, and a charter was granted to 
Cadwallader Jones and others for the Roanoke Steamboat 
Company to build steamboats to ply on the sounds and 
Roanoke River, and the New Bern Marine and Fire Insur¬ 
ance Company was incorporated. 

The Assembly had met on the last Monday in December, 
which that year was Christmas Day. The Governor and 
State officers had been elected in November for one year and 





FIRST GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 


305 


the year had passed. At the outset, the Governor sub¬ 
mitted the question to the Legislature as to the validity of 
all official acts during December, but the Assembly an¬ 
swered only by reelecting him to be Governor. 

John McRae of Fayetteville prepared in 1826 a map of 
the State, five miles to the inch, being 6 feet 9 inches by 
3 feet 6 inches. Each county was separately executed by 
R. H. B. Brazier, with the assistance of gentlemen of science 
in the different parts of the State and revised by the several 
county surveyors. On December 18, 1826, McRae announced 
in the North Carolina Telegraph, a religious and miscellane¬ 
ous weekly, published at Fayetteville by Robert H. Morrison, 
the editor, that “from the returns already received he believed 
that there would be a subscription of not less than 1,000 
names—the price to new subscribers was $10. Morrison, 
the publisher of the Telegraph, in December, 1826, an¬ 
nounced as just published at the Telegraph office “Spiritual 
Hymns in the Gaelic language by Patrick Grant, the title 
in Gaelic being Spioradail Uuadh Dhain Padruing Grand.” 
Later, Mr. Morrison became the president of Davidson 
College. 

The geological survey 

Professor Olmstead at first made the geological survey 
required by the directions of the Legislature, but on his 
resignation Dr. Elisha Mitchell carried on the work; parts 
I and II of the report being by the former and part III by 
the latter. In the performance of this duty Dr. Mitchell 
made several trips throughout the State. A diary of his 
journey over the State in the winter of 1827-28 has been 
preserved. 

In 1829 Dr. Mitchell made an additional report, and he 
then published a textbook “Elements of Geology with an 
outline of the Geology of North Carolina”; and also an essay 
on “the character and origin of the low country of North 
Carolina.” 

20 


1826 


State map 


Hymns in 
Gaelic 


1827 


Sprunt 
Mon., No. 6 



3°6 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


1827 


This work by Prof. Olmstead and Dr. Mitchell was the 
first comprehensive geological survey made by any state, 
and while reflecting high credit on the eminent men who 
executed the work attests the intelligent and progressive 
spirit and wisdom of the public men of that period. 

The gold fever 

In the early years of the century gold had been found in 
Cabarrus County, and the result of the geological surveys 
gave some impetus to the search for the precious metal. 
Here and there mills for washings had been put in operation 
and in 1827 Nathaniel Bosworth, knowing Murphey’s in¬ 
terest in the subject, informed him that his plant in Mont¬ 
gomery County was in satisfactory operation and that he 
employed about 80 men. However, Bosworth’s efforts do 
not seem to have resulted favorably. Still, elsewhere others 
were mining and washing for gold. Two years later Mon¬ 
sieur Dauverges, a French chemist, wa$ brought from 
Philadelphia to examine into the value of the mines, and 
Murphey was with him at the Gibson mine, in Guilford 
County, which later Murphey and Jonathan Worth worked 
for a year; and Murphey proposed to wash for gold on his 
Haw River plantation, where it was said there were three 
gold mines. At that period the gold fever was abroad in 
the central and south central parts of the State. Many 
persons flocked to the supposed gold regions, and some of 
the planters even carried their negro men there to engage 
in the work. The excitement continued a year or two; but 
the results were very disappointing. However, interest in 
the natural resources of the State was aroused. 

The Carson-Vance duel 

On November 6, 1827, at Saluda, across the South Caro¬ 
lina line, occurred a fatal duel that stirred the west as 
much as the Stanly duel had stirred the east. Dr. Robert 
Brank Vance had served a term in Congress and on seeking 







1 . 

3 . 


Archibald D. Murphey 
Edward B. Dudley 


4. 


Elisha Mitchell 
William Gaston 
















































CARSON-VANCE DUEL 


30 7 


a reelection was opposed by a young man, who, however, 
had served two sessions in the Legislature, Samuel P. 
Carson. Vance was much the elder, but the young man was 
successful. At the next election, 1827, Vance opposed 
Carson and on the stump mentioned that Carson’s grand¬ 
father had been untrue during the Revolutionary war, in 
fact a Tory. Carson made denial and challenged Vance. 
At the meeting Vance fell. Carson, who had been successful 
at the polls, continued in Congress until 1833. The Vance 
connection was very prominent and the fatal duel left much 
heartburning for many years. 

The tariff 

At first, revenue had been the object of the earlier tariff 
laws; and whatever protection was afforded to manufac¬ 
turers was merely incidental. But by 1824 the demands 
of eastern manufacturers for protection and of western 
communities for internal improvements led to the adoption 
of the American system fathered by Henry Clay, a western 
man; and the protective measure of that year was adopted 
by a majority of five in the House and of four in the 
Senate, Daniel Webster, at that time a freetrader, being 
against it. 

The interests of Massachusetts had been more with com¬ 
merce than with manufactures, and besides she had seen 
Ohio, Indiana and Illinois attract her population. During 
the decade ending 1830 the population of those three states 
increased 660,000, while that of Massachusetts increased 
but 87,000. Unable to stem the tide of emigration, and 
her manufactures becoming more important, she changed 
her economic attitude and embraced protection. 

In July, 1827, a convention was held in Harrisburg, 
Pennsylvania, which favored protecting every industry. 
Webster and Massachusetts now cooperated with Clay, and 
in May, 1828, a new tariff law was passed, known as the 
Bill of Abominations because of its provisions that were 


1827 

The first 
tariff con¬ 
vention 




308 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


1827 


Opposition 
to the “New 
School” 


declared by its opponents to be monstrous. It was that 
bill that aroused the Republicans at the South in the ensuing 
presidential campaign against the Adams administration. 
In some of the agricultural states it occasioned talk of dis¬ 
solving the Union, and in South Carolina, where Calhoun 
was all-powerful, the opposition was very violent. But 
Clay adhered to his system. When Jackson was defeated in 
1824, by Clay’s action in the House, he had charged that 
Clay had made a corrupt bargain with Adams; and Clay 
was now at points with General Jackson, and the adherents 
of Adams and Clay, while still asserting that they were 
Republicans, called themselves “National Republicans.” 

At the election, August, 1827, the feeling in the State was 
with Jackson and against Adams and Clay. The “New 
School" with its adherence to the high tariff and internal 
improvements was hotly met at the meetings. Nor was 
there kept in mind the distinction between the State's pro¬ 
motion of its own internal improvements and such action 
bv the United States; there arose objections to both. Among 
the contestants for Congress was Archibald D. Murphey, 
who sought to succceed Barringer. A supporter, writing 
to him from Wake just before the election, remarked: “If 
it was not for one circumstance, that of internal improve¬ 
ments in the State, you would beat him (Barringer) three 
to one in my neighborhood, but it is hard to make a great 
many of the people understand the difference between im¬ 
provements by the State and that by the United States.” 
Senator Macon was ever opposed to any improvements by 
the State. 

Such was the general tone in the State when in Sep¬ 
tember, 1827, J. F. Caldwell, President of the University, 
began the publication of a series of letters, addressed to the 
people, on the subject then entirely new and novel—the con¬ 
struction of a railway by the State from New Bern to the 
mountains. At that time there had been quite a number 
of railways constructed in England to haul coal from the 



DR. CALDWELL'S LETTERS 


309 


mines to some shipping point, but none as much as ten 
miles in length, and all operated by horses; and there were 
a few on the continent for similar purposes. In this coun¬ 
try, a road three miles long had been begun in 1827 at 
Quincy, Massachusetts, to haul granite; and in Pennsylvania 
a road five miles long to haul coal was also begun in 1827. 
In South Carolina there was a road from Charleston into 
the interior also in use; but all without locomotives. Other 
than these, there were no such aids to transportation in the 
United States when Dr. Caldwell began his series of let¬ 
ters, which reached eleven numbers before the meeting of 
the Assembly. For intelligent apprehension of the prob¬ 
lems involved; for clearness of views and a thorough un¬ 
derstanding of a subject at once novel, difficult and im¬ 
portant, these letters published as ‘‘The Carlton Letters’’ are 
a marvel of excellence. They deserve to stand on as high a 
plane of literary accomplishment as the celebrated reports 
of Hamilton or Jefferson or any of the famous men of that 
generation. Indeed, it is to be said that they constitute a 
wonderful achievement, reflecting high credit on the State, 
perhaps unrivaled in any other American commonwealth. 

Twelve years had elapsed since Murphey and his coad¬ 
jutors had started the scheme of improving water transporta¬ 
tion and constructing highways through the western parts 
of the State. The navigation of the Dan and Roanoke had 
been brought to a high state of usefulness and that of the 
Cape Fear to most gratifying efficiency. The Catawba and 
Yadkin had been opened, and nearly every stream in the 
east had been improved; while the Clubfoot and Harlowe 
Canal connected the waters of the great sounds with the 
ocean at Beaufort harbor. Much benefit had accrued, but 
still, save at Fayetteville, no great market within the State 
had resulted. The natural tendency of our farm products 
to seek markets in Virginia and in South Carolina con¬ 
tinued, and the profits of our important trade went into 
the pockets of the merchants of the neighboring states. 


Carlton 

Letters 




3io 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


1827 


The railroad 


House 

Journal, 140 


North Carolina was not reasonably benefited by the industry 
of her people. Much had been done for water transporta¬ 
tion, but still the obstacles to industrial prosperity generally 
remained. Dr. Caldwell conceived the design or rescuing 
the interior of the State from its condition; of providing 
transportation for the products of the west to some North 
Carolina port, where vessels would bear them to the Medi¬ 
terranean Sea, to Europe, to the islands at the south as 
well as to the markets of the northern states. 

While our people knew of the benefits of the canals in 
England, in New York and elsewhere, they had heard but 
little of a railway. Nowhere else in the world had such 
a railway as Caldwell now proposed ever been designed. It 
was to start at New Bern, come to Raleigh, and then go 
westward, about fifty miles distant from each of the north¬ 
ern and southern boundaries of the State. Nearly every 
farm was to be within a day’s journey of the road. Along 
the line of the road the produce would be laden on the 
railway carriages and carried to New Bern where, trans¬ 
ferred to barges, it would be conveyed by the canal to Beau¬ 
fort and shipped abroad. Already a steam locomotive had 
been devised in England; but there were none in America. 
Horses were to draw the carriages. Dr. Caldwell figured 
that it would cost thirty-seven cents to the poll for seven 
years and the work would be completed. Every detail he 
considered fully in his remarkable series of letters. He 
hoped that the Legislature would authorize a beginning, 
but when the Legislature met Charles Fisher, while agreeing 
to the general argument of Dr. Caldwell, made a different 
proposition. The Yadkin was open to the Narrows. For 
a hundred miles the produce of the Yadkin Valley was for 
easy transport on the bosom of that placid stream; and 
the project of Murphey for a canal having fallen through, 
Fisher proposed a railway from the Narrows to Fayette* 



PROGRESSIVE MEASURES 


3ii 


ville. Then Nathan G. Smith of Chatham, following the 
suggestion of Dr. Caldwell, proposed a road from Beaufort 
to Salisbury. Both propositions were referred to a com¬ 
mittee, and nothing followed. 

Quite a number of persons in this State having associated Ibid 154 
themselves together for the instruction of the deaf and dumb 
and to establish an asylum for the reception and instruction 
of these unfortunate persons, they were incorporated under 

Progress^ 

the name of the North Carolina Institution for the Instruc- measures 
tion of the Deaf and Dumb. 

The former Legislature having directed a commission to 
reports plans for a penitentiary and for an asylum for idiots 1827 
and lunatics, the Governor now communicated such plans, 
but the time was not yet ripe for action, and the plans were 
ordered to be deposited in the library for future use. 

There were transportation companies chartered for Hay¬ 
wood County, another to run from Buncombe to Burke, and 
another known by the name of the Smoky Mountain Trans¬ 
portation Company, the State being a stockholder. 

In Elizabeth City there was enough business for the for¬ 
mation of a marine insurance company. In several coun¬ 
ties there were library companies authorized, and the State 
Library was directed to let Hardy B. Croom have the use 
of Lawson’s History for twelve months to republish the 
same with notes. 

The Assembly, desirous of promoting laudable objects 
without taxing the people, resorted to lotteries that were 
then much utilized, even for religious purposes as well as 
for other objects. 

Judge Murphey had been engaged in preparing a history 
of the State and it was commonly understood that the pub¬ 
lication of a history was casting bread on the waters with no 
hope of any return. To be helpful to this distinguished 
public man in his great endeavor, the Assembly passed an 



312 


LAFAYETTE—CARLTON LETTERS 


Lotteries 


Jefferson, 
Vol. IX 


1828 

Iredell, 

Governor 


act authorizing the Treasurer to have a lottery to raise 
$50,000, one-half of the proceeds to be for the Literary 
Fund, and the other half for the use of Murphey in pub¬ 
lishing his history. The lottery was to be sold to brokers 
or others who might purchase the right to hold it. For 
some reason there were no purchasers, so the scheme fell 
through. 

There was also an act giving authority to the Board of 
Internal Improvements to have a lottery to raise $50,000 to 
survey and drain swamps and to improve the health of 
certain counties in the eastern part of the State; and Sena¬ 
tor Flenry Seawell from Wake, offered a resolution instruct¬ 
ing the Committee on Education to inquire into the expe¬ 
diency of raising $630,000 by lottery, ten thousand dollars 
to be given to each county for establishing public schools. 
Lotteries, argued Jefferson, when applying to the Virginia 
Legislature for one to be authorized for the aid of his pro¬ 
posed university, are not more subject to chance than the 
pursuit of agriculture. The propriety of their use was a 
common sentiment. 

This being Burton's last year, James Iredell was elected 
Governor. 

It was at this time that Murphey engaged the services of 
a man who had taught school in the western counties, known 
as P. S. Ney, and who proved efficient and helpful to 
Murphey.* 

Murphey’s health now became bad. Some of his specu¬ 
lations in land turned out disastrously. At the August 
election, 1827, he offered for Congress against Barringer, 
both being supporters of General Jackson, but he was de¬ 
feated. His proposed history was never completed. 


*The real name of this man Ney waa Neyman. He was a Scotchman. 




EARLY MASONS OF THE STATE 


3i3 


The Masons had for years been active in North Carolina, The Masons 
and among them were many of the most honored patriots 
of the State. Sam Johnston, Richard Caswell, Davie, Col. 

William Polk, Chief Justice Taylor, Judge Hall, Governor 
Benjamin Smith and Robert Williams were the Grand Mas¬ 
ters up to 1813, and equally distinguished were their suc¬ 
cessors ; while the roll of members contained the names of 
the most choice spirits of the commonwealth. Therefore 
when an anti-Mason party arose at the North it made no 
impression in North Carolina. 



CHAPTER XX 


An Era of Progress 


The presidential election.—Jackson successful.—His citizen¬ 
ship and manners.—Character.—His inauguration.—Iredell’s 
message.—New conditions.—Cotton and woolen factories; other 
enterprises.—Iredell and Branch Senators.—Owen, Governor.— 
Congress agrees to improve the Cape Pear.—Fauntleroy Taylor 
dies.—Death of Chief Justice Taylor.—The banks in trouble.— 
Branch Bank of United iSitates.—Robert Potter.—Gaston.—Pot¬ 
ter’s popularity.—His crime and death.—Fisher’s diatribe.— 
Ruffin restores confidence.—Macon.—His influence.—Death of 
Yancey.—Federal patronage.—GDeath of Murphey.—Governor 
Owen’s progressive message.—The Internal Improvement Con¬ 
vention.—The Assembly responds.—Sheriffs and clerks to be 
elected by the people.—Bedford Brown Senator.—Henderson 
Chief Justice.—Macon County.—Ruffin on Supreme. Court.—The 
Donaldson industrial school.—The tariff.—The State’s non-action. 


1828 


Attitude 
of Gales 


The presidential election 

When the presidential election of 1828 was approaching 
the friends of Adams and of Clay, the adherents of the 
American system, those who supported the high tariff 
measures and the internal improvements policy of the ad¬ 
ministration, stood for the reelection of Adams. But Jack- 
son, declaring that the popular will had been defeated by a 
corrupt bargain between Clay and Adams in 1824, was very 
active in rallying the opposition. Great popular interest 
was aroused throughout all the states. In North Carolina 
nearly all the public men were for “Old Hickory,” and 
against the “New School’’ as those were called who ad¬ 
vocated a latitudinous construction of the Constitution. 
Colonel Polk, Badger, Mangum and nearly all the old Re¬ 
publicans were for Jackson, but Gales, so long the leading 
Republican editor, was not. In 1820 when the Legislature 
had pronounced against the tariff, Gales had registered a 
strong dissent. And his action was in conformity with his 
principles. He had stood for home manufactures, ’and in 
1808 he had established a paper mill on the Neuse: and had 


GENERAL JACKSON 


3 I 5 


ever urged domestic manufactures. At the previous elec¬ 
tion he supported Crawford, the caucus nominee, who, in¬ 
deed, had a large following in the State; but he was no 
longer in line with the Jefferson Democracy. 

By November all doubts of the result of the election were 
allayed. Jackson was successful by more than two to one in 
the electoral college. While New England gave all her 
votes but one to Adams, the West offset that; and the South 
voted solidly for Jackson, as did Pennsylvania; only New 
York and Maryland divided. It was the death knell of the 
political supremacy of Massachusetts. Virginia and the 
South and West wielded the power of the Union. 

Some question has arisen as to Jackson’s nativity. It is 
not important whether his mother happened to be on the 
north or south side of the line dividing the Carolinas when 
he was born. The Waxhaw settlement embraced the neigh¬ 
borhood and extended into both states. His parents came 
from Ireland in 1765 and settled in Waxhaw. Two years 
later he was born in North Carolina. All through youth 
he was in North Carolina, a North Carolina boy. It is said 
he taught school, and studied law in North Carolina, was 
a resident and voter of the State, admitted to the bar by 
Judge Ashe, as a citizen; held office as a citizen; never 
breathing any other atmosphere, until Tennessee, North 
Carolina’s daughter, became a state. 

After he became President, his political opponents as¬ 
sumed towards him an air of superiority. He had not had 
their training. He was a resolute, determined man: but in 
manner, in personal bearing, he was so deferential, so gentle, 
so courteous, that Mrs. Seaton wrote: ‘‘General Jackson ap¬ 
pears to possess quite as much suaviter in modo as fortiter 
in re. He is indeed a polished perfect courtier in female 
society, and polite to all.” And Senator Iredell wrote to 
Ruffin : “I have seen General Jackson and am much pleased 
with his manner and address. They are decidedly those of 
a well-bred gentleman, and I do not know that I could give 
him a higher character.” While a man of decision, he held 
lofty views and had correct principles; and he was free 
from insincerity and duplicity: nor was he lacking in edu- 


Jackson 


Biog. 

Seaton, 161 


Ruffin 
Letters, I, 
433 



3 l6 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


1828 


Seaton, 

Bio?. 


cation. He had been educated in youth, a judge of the 
Supreme Court of Tennessee, had served in the Senate, 
and had been Governor of the Territory of Florida. 

The campaign had been waged on such issues that Jackson 
was stigmatized as an enemy to society. And indeed at 
his inauguration all social traditions were trampled under 
foot. “It was the people’s day, the people’s President, and 
the people would rule. . . . When the President’s ad¬ 

dress was concluded, the barricades gave way before the 
multitude, who forced a passage to shake hands with the 
choice of the people. General Jackson mounted his horse, 
having walked to the Capitol, and then such a cortege fol¬ 
lowed : countrymen, laborers, white and black, carriages, 
wagons, and carts all pursuing him to the President’s house. 

. The closing scene (within the White House) was 
195 in disgusting contrast with the simplicity of the impressive 
drama of the inaugural oath.” And so it came about that 
“party spirit is now fiery hot and will increase every day.” 
Of Jackson's particular admirers it was said: “In our 
opinion General Jackson is infinitely superior in magnanimity 
and other good qualities to his friends. They are outrageous 
and would willingly trample under foot and massacre all 
who do not bow the knee to Baal.” Such was the begin¬ 
ning of a new era in political affairs at Washington. 

In the State 

In his message to the Assembly Governor Iredell men¬ 
tioned the exuberant harvest, the great improvement in con¬ 
ditions, and “but few offenders of an atrocious nature.” 
He dwelt on the tariff act recently passed, and urged the 
Legislature to protest against it, and against “the American 
system.” 

He urged as all his predecessors had done both education 
and internal improvements; and “on the subject of railroads, 
which have excited much interest in this State,” he said 
that an experiment had lately been commenced to connect 
the waters of the Ohio with the city of Baltimore, and he 
suggested the construction of a railway from Campbellton to 
Fayetteville, as a trial and test. 



MANUFACTURING DEVELOPMENTS 


The conditions in the State were now better than the 
year before. A greater spirit of enterprise prevailed. 
There were applications for business incorporations that be¬ 
spoke an inclination to associate capital and enter on 
manufacturing. 

The Leakes and Crawfords of Richmond were granted 
a charter under the name of Richmond Rockingham Man¬ 
ufacturing Company, with a capital of $30,000, to manu¬ 
facture cotton and woolen goods. 

Hugh McCain, Jesse Walker, Benjamin Eliot and Jona¬ 
than Worth formed the Randolph Manufacturing Com¬ 
pany for cotton and woolen goods, with a capital of $50,000. 

William A. Blount, John Myers, William Ellison, with 
$20,000, formed the Belfort Cotton Manufacturing Com¬ 
pany to operate on Tranter’s Creek. 

Joel Battle, Edmond McNair, David Clark, David Barnes, 
B. M. Jackson, Theophilus Parker, Peter Evans, William 
Plummer were incorporated as the Edgecombe Manufac¬ 
turing Company with a capital of $200,000 to manufacture 
cotton, flax and hemp; and Henry A. Donaldson, Louis 
D. Henry, John Riley, Hugh McLaughlin, John M. Dobbin, 
formed the Fayetteville Manufacturing Company, $50,000 
capital, to manufacture cotton, hemp, wool and flax. Peter 
P. Smith, Anderson K. Ramsey of Chatham, Alexander 
Gray and Hugh Moffat of Randolph, Daniel McNeil, 
Guidon Seawell of Moore, James Mebane, John Stockard 
of Orange, put in $15,000 to form the Iron and Casting- 
Manufacturing Company in Chatham County. And gold 
mining was attractive. The North Carolina Gold Mining 
Company was organized “to work gold mines more exten¬ 
sively than heretofore and with better machinery/’ Both 
the Cotton Plant Steamboat Company and the Henrietta 
Steamboat Company were organized at Fayetteville; each 
with the authority to build additional boats, and a com¬ 
pany was formed with $100,000 capital to clear the channel 
of Ocracoke Inlet, and improve the navigation of Pamlico 
Sound. 

Macon having resigned, two senators were now to be 
chosen. Governor Iredell and Governor Branch were 


M7 


Progress 


Cotton mills 


Navigation 


Iredell and 

Branch 

Senators 



3i8 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


1828 


Death of the 

Chief 

Justice 


elected. John Owen now became Governor. Not so learned 
a man as Iredell, Owen was of fine qualities and worthy of 
this post of honor. 

The Legislature had called on Congress to remove the 
obstructions in the Cape Fear, the result of sinking vessels 
there during the Revolution to keep out British vessels, and 
Congress proposing to do that, the State Civil Engineer was 
now dispensed with; but the work was kept up by Hinton 
James as superintendent. William Robards, the State Treas¬ 
urer, who succeeded the venerable John Haywood on his 
death, reported that the State assets were $1,047,485, and 
liabilities $325,326. The Legislature directed that $5,000 
be advanced to McRae for the publication of his map. 

The Attorney-General, James Fauntleroy Taylor died in 
June, 1828, the Legislature electing Romulus M. Saunders 
to the vacancy; and on January 29, 1829, Chief Justice Tay¬ 
lor died. For thirty years he had been on the bench and 
ranked first among his associates. On his death the court 
made a memoranda from which the following are extracts. 
“In the character of this distinguished man there was such 
a rare union of qualities as renders the task of portraying 
it one of peculiar difficulty. The lineaments of his mind 
were delicate and so harmoniously blended as to present to 
the intellectual eye an object on which it dwelt with serene 
and affectionate pleasure, conscious of excellence, yet scarcely 
sensible in what it consists. . . . His gentle, unob¬ 

trusive manners, a singular felicity of expression, which al¬ 
ways seized and apparently without effort the most appro¬ 
priate word for the communication of a thought, a playful 
but ever benevolent wit, united with quick perception, great 
ingenuity in argument and a most retentive recollection of 
whatever he had read, opened for him a career of eminence. 
His patience was exemplary, and his courtesy universal. 
L T niting in an extraordinary degree suavity of manner with 
firmness of purpose, a heart tremblingly alive to every im¬ 
pulse of humanity, with a deep-seated and reverential love 
of justice, the best feelings with an enlightened judgment, 
etc. 




FINANCIAL DEPRESSION 


3i9 


Of his decisions they said: “Very many, which may be 
regarded as models of legal investigation and judicial elo¬ 
quence, etc. . . . There is indeed a charm in all his 

compositions seldom to be found elsewhere, which has in¬ 
duced not a few to regret that the Chief Justice had not 
devoted himself entirely to a literary life. . . . If there 

was ever a kinder heart in human bosom, it has not fallen 
to our lot to meet with it. If ever man was more faithful 
to friendship, more affectionate in his domestic relations, 
more free from guile, more disinterested, humane and chari¬ 
table, we have not been so fortunate as to know him.” 

The banks in trouble 

The conservative and splendid management of the banks 
in their early years had borne its natural fruit. Their 
value to the State was appreciated. Then in the time of 
depression that set in, they became the fortunate instrument 
to alleviate the situation. Everybody became borrowers; 
money was so easy to get on promises to repay. The char¬ 
ters of the banks were extended to 1835, and their capital 
was greatly increased, and as they could issue three dollars in 
currency for every dollar of capital, currency became super¬ 
abundant. Specie becoming scarce, the Legislature came to 
the aid of the situation by issuing State notes, receivable as 
specie. While this expedient was a temporary relief,-in the 
end it augmented the evil. Unfortunately, similar condi¬ 
tions existed elsewhere at the South and West, and there be¬ 
ing great demand for specie, brokers plied their trade re¬ 
lentlessly, purchasing the notes of the banks at a discount 
and presenting them for payment in specie. There was but 
one road that led to safety, to call in loans; and that would 
occasion widespread distress. The banks hesitated to resort 
to that measure and suspended specie payment. The brokers 
being denied their specie brought suit, and to meet this 
threatened embarrassment, the banks required customers to 
agree to pay their indebtedness in specie; although the 
bank notes were below par. Unusual efforts were now 
made by the Legislature to give relief to the banks, but the 
Branch Bank of the United States having received a large 




3 20 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


1829 


Robert 

Potter 


Wheeler, 

164 


Ruffin 
Letters, I, 
458 


Gaston 


amount of bank notes demanded specie in payment, and 
the banks were in a condition that required the most dras¬ 
tic action. At that time there entered on the stage of public 
life a man of unusual abilities and qualities, Robert Potter 
of Granville County. “With an address which would have 
graced the most polished court in Europe, with powers of 
eloquence that could command the listening auditors and 
sway them to his will, and an energy that shrank from no 
obstacle or opposition, he sought popularity by magnifying 
the evils of the day and appealing to the people for reform.” 
He had been a midshipman, but after six years service had 
resigned and studied law, and in 1828, was elected a Repre¬ 
sentative from Granville County. On the meeting of the 
Assembly he proposed to reduce severely the pay of the 
judges. “Potter seems to have gone completely beside him¬ 
self upon that and the other great subjects which have been 
agitating the people of the State for the last summer; I 
mean the all-absorbing subjects of the depreciation of the 
currency of North Carolina, and the bad not to say mis¬ 
management of the directors of our banks.” Potter had 
introduced a resolution, which was adopted, to raise a joint 
committee to examine into the affairs of the banks. The 
majority of this committee made a report different from 
Potter’s views. And he submitted a minority report ac¬ 
companied by a bill requiring the Attorney-General to in¬ 
stitute proceedings against the banks, declaring a forfeiture 
of their charters. These reports led to high debate. Gas¬ 
ton was at that time in the plenitude of his powers. 
Badger, writing to Ruffin, said: “I have been employed 
for some days past in the Circuit Court of the G T nited States 
where Brother Gaston is all in all, and although I have 
heard much and seen a little of leaning, yet never saw I, 
or heard I, of such complete supporting upon a lawyer as 
of the Chief Justice (Marshall) upon Gaston. The Chief 
Justice seems to be but his echo, though he is not aware of 
it, for his integrity is certainly pure.” Gaston opposed 
Potter. “With Gaston were George E. Spruill of Halifax, 
David L. Swain, George C. Mendenhall of Guilford, and 
James Graham of Rutherford. . . . The House was a 



POTTER AND FISHER 


321 


tie and the proposition of Potter was defeated only by the 
casting vote of the Speaker, Thomas Settle/’ 

Potter by his attack on the banks gained such popular ap¬ 
plause that he was at the next election chosen as a Jackson 
Democrat to Congress from the Granville district. His 
course in Congress was brilliant and imposing. He was re¬ 
elected without opposition. On Sunday, August 28, 1831, 
he committed a brutal maim on two of his wife’s relations, 
one of them a preacher. He was fined $1,000 and im¬ 
prisoned six months. The next General Assembly passed 
an act making his crime a capital offense. Two years later, 
however, he was again elected to the House of Commons; 
but realizing that his career had closed he went to Texas in 
1835. There he was a member of the convention that de¬ 
clared the independence of Texas, March, 1836, and mem¬ 
ber of the Texas Senate. Having some trouble with some 
men who on April 2, 1842, drove him from his house near 
Caddo, he took refuge in a stream, from the banks of which 
they fired on him, he diving as they shot; but eventually 
they, killed him. 

While Potter’s attack on the banks failed, it had many and 
strong supporters. Such was the feeling that Charles Fisher, 
a Senator, had published in the Yadkin and Catawba 
Journal, February, 10, 1829: “By acts the most designing, 
the Legislature and the people of the State for the past ten 
years have been held under the spellbound influence of the 
banks, and particularly that bank misnamed the Bank of the 
State. So great has been this influence that when, a few 
years since, the Governor of the State had the firmness to 
call their conduct in question, the directors at Raleigh boldly 
stepped out and hurled the gauntlet of defiance at the Gov¬ 
ernor and the Legislature; and all the newspapers in the 
State sung out—‘Long Live the King.’ ” He declared that 
one-third of the stockholders, 150 men, owning more than 
$1,000,000 of stock managed the institution. “These com¬ 
pose the real aristocracy of the land, and of all aristocra¬ 
cies the most dangerous is a moneyed aristocracy. . . . 

Mammon is their God—self-interest their polar star. These 
are the men who are now at work to ruin the State, and 
21 


Potter’s 

career 


Fisher 
denounces 
the money 
power 



322 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


Ruffin averts 
trouble 


Ruffin 
Papers, I, 
496 


the contest is with them. . . . Times have changed and they 
can no longer divide eight per cent with occasional bonus of 
ten to thirty-five per cent; and they have come to the conclu¬ 
sion to call in their debts without any regard to the condi¬ 
tion of the community, but only looking to their own sordid 
interests. ‘Let us wind up at once,’ they say; ‘let us call in 
our debts and get the money into our own hands; we can 
make more than five per cent of it by shaving notes and 
by buying up property at sheriff sales.’ But,” says a whis¬ 
pering spirit: “The people, you will ruin the people.’ 
Mammon answers: ‘What are the people to us? We must 
look to our own interest.’ It is better that the people should 
suffer, it is better that the poor man, with his wife and help¬ 
less children should be turned out of doors; it is better that 
we should swell the tide of emigration to the west, than that 
we should get only five per cent for our money.” On that line 
the thoughts of those who were agitating against the banks 
found food to grow. 

At that period Judge Thomas Ruffin was the most highly 
esteemed citizen and the most popular man in the State; 
every one had confidence in his high integrity as in his 
superior ability. The condition of the State Bank was so 
critical that in November, 1828, some of the leading men 
urged him to become president of that institution. On 
December 1, he accepted; and his acceptance raised a storm 
of fury against him by those who were so bitter against 
the bank. He moved to Raleigh and set himself at once 
to work to restore confidence in the State Bank, and, with¬ 
out favor, forced the borrowers to settle. He accomplished 
his purpose and saved the State from what might have been 
a financial disaster. When two months later the Chief Jus¬ 
tice died, thoughts of Ruffin’s friends turned to him to fill 
the vacancy. 

Andrew Joyner of Halifax, one of the first men in the 
State, wrote in April, 1829, to Ruffin that the gentlemen of 
the bar in that region preferred Ruffin: “If Mr. Gaston 
were a candidate, I find there would be considerable differ¬ 
ence of opinion among them as to which of you should be 
selected to fill the appointment, but it is now generally un- 



MACON’S RETIREMENT 


323 


derstood that he positively declines/’ This is of particular 
interest as Gaston was a Roman Catholic, and it was gen¬ 
erally considered that Catholics were barred by the Con¬ 
stitution from holding civil offices while that provision did 
not extend to members of the Assembly. 

On November 14, 1828, Senator Macon, having reached 
the age when he thought his mental powers were on the 
decline, resigned and retired from public life, being suc¬ 
ceeded by Iredell. He, however, preserved his activity and 
continued to be a great hunter of deer and foxes. He 
had served in Congress from 1791, was the honored 
Speaker of the House, and after 1815, was esteemed as one 
of the wisest Senators, and presided over the Senate as 
President pro tempore for several years until he retired. 
Like Jefferson, he thought the best interests of the people 
of the states lay in a strict construction of the Constitution, 
limiting the powers of Congress to the specific grants in that 
instrument. Particularly was he fearful that Congress 
would attempt to abolish slavery in the states. So it came 
about that he was opposed to many of the measures that 
now engaged the attention of the younger public men. To 
preserve his right of action, he never would enter into 
cooperation; and so during the period when presidential 
nominations were made by the Congressional caucus he ab¬ 
stained from attending such a caucus, even when in sympa¬ 
thy with a majority of the members. For many years he ex¬ 
erted the first influence in the State. Here he was the 
apostle of individualism. His basic principle was that the 
function of government should generally be limited to the 
preservation of order and protecting and maintaining the 
rights of the citizens; that other matters should be left to 
the care and enterprise of the people themselves. Thus he 
was not an advocate of public schools or of the State’s 
using taxes to promote enterprises that offered advantages 
to some particular section. These matters he thought should 
be left to those concerned. 

It was under the influence of these teachings that opposi¬ 
tion arose to such efforts as were made to provide public 
schools and promote internal improvements. 


1828 


Macon 

retires 



324 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


Macon’s 

influence 


Now that a new era was approaching - , when railroads were 
to engage attention, the indisposition to lay taxes for pur¬ 
poses that were more strictly objects of individual concern 
stayed the hand of the General Assembly, and while charter 
after charter was granted the State gave its permission and 
good wishes, but no aid. One of the first propositions was 
to construct a road from Campbellton, where the steamboats 
discharged their freight, about a mile, to Fayetteville where 
the stores were located. The proposition had been pre¬ 
viously considered, and a bill introduced and passed, but the 
work was not undertaken. Other charters had been granted 
to carry into effect the suggestion of Dr. Caldwell to have 
a railway from the coast through the central counties of 
the State; and a still more favorite project was to connect 
Fayetteville by rail with the Yadkin River at the Narrows 
so that the products of the Yadkin Valley, up to the moun¬ 
tains, could reach markets from Wilmington. But as ses¬ 
sion after session passed the Legislature deemed it inex¬ 
pedient for the State to give aid. And so it was in regard 
to establishing public schools. Year by year propositions 
were made to that end, but despite the advocacy of many 
progressive spirits, especially in the Senate, they were with¬ 
out avail. 

Next to Macon, perhaps the most influential person in the 
State had been Bartlett Yancey in whom was united every 
element of fine manhood; and now, too, he was missed from 
public life. For ten years he had been Speaker of the Sen¬ 
ate and exercised a controlling influence in that bodv and 
many of the most important measures adopted were at his 
instance; particularly he drew the bill to establish the 
literary fund for schools. But he was conservative in ap¬ 
plying the resources of the State to promote conditions. 
FTe died suddenly and entirely lamented, after his reelection 
to the Senate in 1828. 

Political rewards in the State were few and not remuner¬ 
ative. The salaries of the Governor and of the judges were 
inadequate and, indeed, so was the compensation of the Rep¬ 
resentatives and Senators in Congress. Thus it came about 
that the Federal patronage was unduly considered in con- 



INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS 


325 


nection with political alignment, and the expectation or hope 
of some Federal office was often uppermost in the mind of 
some of the public men. 

The post of Minister to Peru had been tendered to Yan¬ 
cey but he declined it. He preferred his proud position 
of director of legislation to any other, while his practice 
brought him in a considerable income. 

Indeed Murphey was among those who hoped for an ap¬ 
pointment abroad; but his hopes were not realized. 

While serving the University in Tennessee, he contracted 
a malady that impaired his health and usefulness. Turning 
from active leadership he proposed to write a history of the 
State, but here again he was doomed to disappointment, 
and the most progressive citizen of that era passed away 
February 1, 1832, without realizing his ardent hopes. 

When the Assembly met, W. J. Alexander was chosen 
Speaker of the House and Bedford Brown of the Senate; 
then later, D. F. Caldwell of Rowan. 

Governor Owen’s message 

The Governor strongly urged better transportation fa¬ 
cilities and particularly the opening of a communication be¬ 
tween Albemarle Sound and the ocean which, indeed, the 
U. S. Engineers had themselves recommended; and he was 
happy to report that the representations of the Assembly to 
Congress about the obstructions in the Cape Fear River had 
led to an appropriation of $20,000 to remove them, and that 
Congress had likewise appropriated $41,000 for the improve¬ 
ment of Ocracoke Inlet. The proposed Fayetteville and 
Yadkin Railroad seemed so important that he suggested 
a commission to ascertain the cost and the practicability of 
its construction, and he repeated his recommendation for the 
construction of the road from Campbellton to Fayetteville. 

While the messages of all of the Governors were generally 
explicit in their recommendations for the establishment of 
primary schools, none of them excelled in point and scope 
the first message of Governor Owen. He laid before the 
Assembly what was being done in New York, New Jersey 


Death of 
Murphey 


Improve¬ 

ments 


Owen on 

public 

schools 



326 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


and the New England states and he urged that it was a false 
system of economy which held the hands of our legislators 
from establishing public schools. He submitted a plan for 
a public school system that had been prepared at his in¬ 
stance. He also boldly examined what he deemed was an¬ 
other subject of state concern, the unhealthy condition of 
the eastern counties. Urging draining as a remedy, he 
recommended that the State should own its own slaves 
to do the necessary work in cleaning out the rivers for 
transportation and in draining the swamp lands in the east. 


1829 


Currituck 

Inlet 


Popular 

elections 


Brown 

Senator 


Internal improvement convention 

Contemporaneously with the Governor's message, there 
was held at Raleigh an Internal Improvement Convention, 
and this was an additional influence for legislative action. 
Under this stimulus the Legislature developed more sub¬ 
stantial activity with respect to transportation improve¬ 
ments. A joint committee was appointed to report on the 
proposed railroad from Fayetteville to the Yadkin River. 
An appropriation of $25,000 was made to build locks for 
the canal at Weldon, leading into the Roanoke River; and 
the House by a vote of 97 to 23 passed a bill to open 
a passage from Albemarle Sound into the ocean through 
Currituck Inlet, and the Board of Internal Improvements 
was authorized to expend $2,000 for that purpose. 

The west now achieved its first victory in its continued 
struggle to alter the governmental system which bore so 
heavily upon them. The election of sheriffs was taken from 
the justices and given to the white voters of the counties, 
and that year the election of clerks of the county courts were 
likewise allowed to the voters. But there the eastern mem¬ 
bers of the Assembly stopped, while the west urgently con¬ 
tended for the election of Governor by the popular vote. 

Senator Branch, having been appointed Secretary of the 
Navy, resigned March 9, 1829, but as there was to be no 
meeting of Congress until December, Governor Owen did 
not appoint a successor. To succeed Branch Samuel P. 
Carson of Burke, Montfort Stokes, Judge Murphey and 
Bedford Brown were candidates. There were many ballots 
taken without results, and finally Brown was elected. 





ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS 


327 


On the death of Chief Justice Taylor, Judge Leonard 
Henderson, who had been a Superior Court judge eight 
years and then a member of the Supreme Court since its 
formation, was chosen Chief Justice by the surviving mem¬ 
bers. To fill the vacancy in the court, Governor Owen ap¬ 
pointed Judge Toomer, who, when the Assembly met, re¬ 
signed, but stood for election by the Assembly. How¬ 
ever, on November 24, 1829, Judge Thomas Ruffin was 
elected. Judge Ruffin’s accession to the Supreme Court 
was the beginning of a judicial career that reflected the 
greatest credit on the State. He was one of the most pro¬ 
found lawyers of his generation, and his opinions in later 
years were quoted with consideration by the English jurists. 
In private and public life he was an exemplar of all that 
was manly, courageous and elevated in human action. 

On the resignation of Senator Macon, Macon County 
was erected and named in his honor, and now to perpetuate 
the memory of the great Speaker of the Senate another 
county was proposed—Yancey—but the bill failed in the 
Senate, noes 33, ayes 28. 

Among' the bills at that session, showing the trend of 
thought, was one to incorporate the Fayetteville Female 
School of Industry and to incorporate the Donaldson 
Academy. 

At Fayetteville there had been a firm of successful mer¬ 
chants, Donaldson & McMillan; the partner Robert Donald¬ 
son left two sons, James and Robert. They moved to New 
York. James married there Miss Lenox, whose brother 
gave the Lenox Library to the city. Robert married Miss 
Gaston, daughter of Judge Gaston, and resided at Tarry- 
town. On his departure, he gave a store lot for a school 
to be under the management of the Presbytery. The school 
was later established on the brow of Haymount and was 
known as the Donaldson Academy. The act of incor¬ 
poration provided for an industrial department, allowing 
such pupils as chose to do so to pay for their tuition with 
their labor. Other such schools were started in various 
parts of the State, and indeed from the very beginning of 
the agitation for public schools, the object was to open 


Henderson 

Chief 

Justice 


Supreme 

Court 


Ruffin on 
the bench 


Macon 

County 


The 

Donaldsons 


Industrial 

School 



328 


AN ERA OF PROGRESS 


The tariff 


House 
Journal 
1830, p. 16 


the way for poor children to obtain an education, there 
being no purpose to educate at public expense those able 
to pay. 

The Governor’s recommendation for the opening of Cur¬ 
rituck Inlet was approved by the Legislature; but those 
about railways were not acted on. 

In the Senate a bill was passed to incorporate a new 
State bank, but eventually it was postponed in the House, 
at the instance of Gaston, by a majority of four, and in¬ 
stead, again at Gaston’s instance, a bill was passed extending 
the time for the banks to wind up their affairs. 

There developed much feeling against the course of Con¬ 
gress in the matter of tariff duties and internal improve¬ 
ments. The legislatures of South Carolina, Virginia, 
Georgia and Missouri had passed resolutions denouncing 
the action of Congress on these subjects, and Vermont had 
passed counter resolutions. Resolutions were introduced in 
each house; but no action was taken. In contrast with other 
resolutions offered, those of Mr. Worth were: “Although 
the tariff laws are unwise and oppressive to the Southern 
States, we cannot concur with the extremely violent and dan¬ 
gerous remedies to which the South Carolina doctrine of 
nullification manifestly tends.” 

The State being agricultural, Macon and the public men 
generally regarded that the tariff was inimical to their in¬ 
terests ; and they also held that the Federal government had 
no right to use public revenues for internal improvements. 

Such principles became the basis of party divisions in the 
State; and so firmly were they fixed that when Jackson 
vetoed an internal improvement measure, the Maysville 
Road Bill, the Legislature applauded him; and when a 
charter was being considered for the North Carolina Central 
Road, a proposition was made that “if the company should 
sell stock to or receive any aid from the Federal govern¬ 
ment, the charter should be forfeited,” but the proposed 
amendment failed. 

Within the State only slight aid had been given to the 
construction of some important highways; and so, likewise, 
when the improvement of water transportation began, al- 



WATERWAY OPERATIONS 


329 


though stock was taken in companies to improve the 
Roanoke and Cape Fear rivers, these enterprises were left 
largely to the individual citizens. The chief exception, 
where the State acted itself, was in removing the obstruc¬ 
tions in the lower Cape Fear, but other than that the work 
had been left in private hands, and although the operations 
on the Roanoke and Dan had been very beneficial, the efforts 
to improve the Catawba and Yadkin had not borne satis¬ 
factory fruit. Indeed, some enterprising spirits had suf¬ 
fered heavy losses in the failure of their plans to improve 
these streams, especially the Catawba. 


State 

non-action 



CHAPTER XXI 


1830 


The Roanoke 
trade 


The 

Petersburg 

road 


The Capitol Burned 

Excitement over the tariff and incendiary publications.—The 
Weldon Canal.—The trade to Norfolk.—The Petersburg Railroad. 
—The experimental road.—The Homestead Exemption fails; also 
to establish a State bank; also to remove free negroes from the 
State.—Mangum and Owen clash.—The settlement.—Mangum 
Senator.—Stokes Governor.—Alabama presents Jackson for 
President.—The political resolves.—The Government House and 
the Capitol to be painted.—The roof of the Capitol on fire.—Re¬ 
pairs ordered.—Motion to place the statue of Washington on 
rollers not passed.—Thomas Bragg repairs the State House.— 
Movement of population.—The causes of emigration.—The in¬ 
crease of the west.—The Teachers’ Institute.—Conflagrations at 
Raleigh.—The Capitol destroyed.—Loss of the Library and statue 
of Washington.—The contest over removal of capital.—Two rail¬ 
roads projected.—The convention and rebuilding postponed.— 
Hughes contracts to restore the statue, but fails.—A free school 
in Johnston.—Manufacturing corporations.—Abolition.—Agi¬ 
tation.—Insurrection designed.—The Nat Turner insurrection.— 
The plot at Wilmington.—Six negroes executed.—Judge Gaston’s 
address. 

At the next session, Governor Owen repeated his former 
recommendations and urged that the tariff duties called 
for a solemn protest. He adverted to ‘'the deep excitement 
that has pervaded the South” on this subject, the conditions 
that “threaten the separation of the Union”; and he com¬ 
municated, as well, “an incendiary publication circulated 
extensively throughout the Southern country, ... a sys¬ 
tematic attempt to sow sedition among the slaves.” 

The canal passing around the rapids of the Roanoke had 
been opened to Weldon, and in 1830, there were eight boats 
regularly engaged in transporting the produce of the Roan¬ 
oke and Dan through the canal from Elizabeth City to 
Norfolk. It was this trade that spurred Petersburg to 
action, and Norfolk, too—the prize they were contending 
for. And now Virginia acted on the subject of railroads. 
On the 10th of February, 1830, the Petersburg Railroad 
Company was incorporated at Richmond, and the Legisla¬ 
ture of North Carolina, with some slight amendments and 


RAILROAD EXPERIMENT 


33i 


additions, enacted the same charter as the road entered 
North Carolina and had its terminus on the Roanoke in 
this State. 

It was thought by some desirable that an experimental 
railroad should be constructed as an object lesson. No 
more favorable site for such a road could be found than that 
at Fayetteville; but the citizens were slow to undertake the 
expense. At length, however, in December, 1830, a bill 
was introduced to build the Camphellton and Fayetteville 
Railroad out of the funds of the State, but such a measure 
having been referred to the committee on internal im¬ 
provement, that committee reported that “finances of the 
State did not justify the construction of the road,” and it 
failed to pass; and then, on motion of Mr. Henry abandon¬ 
ing State aid, it was so amended as to incorporate the Fay¬ 
etteville Railroad Company, and eventually it passed on 
Christmas Day, 1830. But work on the road was delayed; 
and the credit of successfully operating such an experimental 
road was lost by Fayetteville. 

A most important proposition failed at this session. Al¬ 
ready imprisonment for debt had been abolished, and now 
it was proposed to establish a homestead exemption. Fifty 
acres of land including the home premises were to be 
exempt from execution. On January 3, 1831, the bill being 
in the Senate and the vote a tie, the Speaker gave the casting 
vote against it, and it failed; another generation was to 
pass before such a beneficent measure was adopted. So 
also, a bill to establish a bank with the funds of the State 
that had long been under discussion in the Senate being 
put to a vote, there was a tie; broken by the Speaker’s 
casting vote, and the bill was indefinitely postponed. An¬ 
other measure of interest was the report of a select com¬ 
mittee, William B. Meares, chairman, on a proposition to 
remove free persons of color from the State. Such a bill 
was favorably reported, but was not acted on by the House. 

To fill out Macon’s term as Senator, Judge Iredell was 
chosen in December, 1828, Mangum, whose name had been 
mentioned, having yielded that honor to Iredell, he himself 
taking a judgeship. Now as the end of that term ap- 


Homestead 

exemption 

proposed 



332 


THE CAPITOL BURNED 


1831 


Mangum and 
Governor 
Owen clash 


Mangum 

Senator 


Biog. Hist., 
Y, 242, 244 


proached, Mangum became a candidate, as also were Gov¬ 
ernor Owen, Judge Donnell, R. D. Spaight and Montfort 
Stokes, the latter being a western man. It was thought bv 
some that Judge Donnell would beat Owen for Senator 
and that Spaight would beat him as Governor. Such was 
the combination against Owen. But Mangum was de¬ 
termined to be Senator and] he was bitter that Owen, being 
eligible as Governor another year, should have entered the 
race for Senator. When the ballots were in progress on the 
opening in December, Mangum wrote letters denouncing 
Owen’s political principles and at once notified Owen of 
his letters and avowed his willingness to give him the sat¬ 
isfaction usual among gentlemen. Owen accepted his chal¬ 
lenge, Louis D. Henry being his second; and W. M. Sneed 
acted for Mangum. Mangum then directed his name to be 
withdrawn; but on December 3, Judge Saunders wrote Man¬ 
gum that hi§ letter was not received until there had been 
two ballots—that Owen had 97 votes, he 86 and 14 blanks. 
He proposed postponing the election till next session, and 
added “Charles Fisher feels confident your presence and 
nothing else can save us from Owen’s election. I view his 
success as fatal to our future prospects.” Eventually the 
affair of honor was called off,* and Owen retired from the 
race, and Mangum was chosen Senator as a supporter of 
Jackson, and he resigned as judge. While this was an 
unusually bitter contest, yet in a measure it illustrates the 
course of affairs among the public men of that period. For 
the governorship, after many ballots, Montfort Stokes was 
successful over J. T. McKay of Bladen; and Owen retired to 
his plantation in Bladen. He was a gentleman of a nice 
sense of honor and a man of ability. 


*It seems probable that Mangum withdrew his letter, and so the trouble 
was amicably settled; and that this was brought about by John Chavis, a re¬ 
markable negro man. Chavis had been educated by Dr. Weatherspoon, 
the President of Princeton, just before the Revolution, and served as a 
soldier in the war. Eventually he became a licensed Presbyterian minister. 
He was respected as a man of education, good sense and most estimable 
character and as a teacher and minister. In 1808 he opened a school in 
Raleigh for the white children; and with “an evening school to ten o’clock 
for colored children.’’ Attention being paid not only to their education, 
but to their morals which he deemed an important part of their education. 
Later he had a school in Granville County and he taught at Hillsboro and 
elsewhere, among his pupils being boys who subsequently became distinguished, 
such as Senator Mangum and others. He was esteemed and respected. 




REPAIRS ON STATE BUILDINGS 


333 


Now that the Congressional caucus had been discarded 
the Legislatures of some of the states substituted the prac¬ 
tice of presenting the name of their presidential candidate. 
Alabama had originally presented Andrew Jackson and now 
again did so. In the Assembly there were several shades 
of opinion. There were those bitterly opposed to nullifi¬ 
cation; those sustaining Jackson’s administration, especially 
because he had turned his back on internal improvements 
by Congress. Various resolutions were introduced. Jona¬ 
than Worth offered one that “The Legislature does not 
recognize the right of an individual state to nullify a law 
of the Lhiited States and that the Union must be preserved.” 
While the part relating to the preservation of the Union was 
adopted unanimously; that denying the right of nullifica¬ 
tion did not receive the sanction of twenty-seven members 
who were followers of Calhoun. 

Another set of resolutions offered by Sawyer approving 
Jackson’s administration, and especially his veto of the 
Mayfield Road Bill and declaring that his reelection was 
highly necessary to preserve the Union, passed the House 
by 97 to 9. Among the nays were Barringer, Joseph A. 
Hill, Mendenhall and Worth. Worth would not vote for 
Jackson. In the Senate these resolutions were tabled 20 
to 16, which brought forth protests that “while the resolu¬ 
tions spoke the wishes of a large majority of the people, 
a few persons in the Senate could defeat them.” 

On December 27, 1830, a resolution was passed to require 
that the Government House, as the Governor’s residence was 
called, be covered with good shingles and painted, and that 
the roof of the Capitol be painted and the leaks in the gut¬ 
ters stopped. On the evening of January 6, 1831, while the 
Assembly was in session, the roof of the State House caught 
on fire, but through the exertions of John B. Muse and 
others, including half a dozen negro slaves, the fire was 
subdued. The next day the Assembly passed a bill direct¬ 
ing that the building should be covered with some metal, 
so as to be fire-proof, and that a cistern should be con¬ 
structed on the lot and a fire engine and buckets provided 
and that repairs should be made to the State House, the 


The factions 

/ 



The Capitol 
on fire 



334 


THE CAPITOL BURNED 


1831 


The 

migration 


Governor’s house and the Secretary's office. It was pro¬ 
posed, because of the possibility of fire, that the statue of 
Washington should be placed on rollers so that it might 
be removed in case of need; hut the session was now near 
its close and the motion was not considered. After the ad¬ 
journment of the Assembly the contract for repairing the 
State House was let to Thomas Bragg, a builder. 

Tlte movement of population 

There was a prevailing impression that the eastern part 
of the State was very unhealthy, the cause being largely 
attributed to the swamps and undrained lands. At that 
period, before the days of buggies, travel was generally 
on horseback although some persons used gigs and a few 
carriages. The judges who rode the eastern circuits found 
their health impaired and some even resigned on that ac¬ 
count, so notwithstanding the advantage of water trans¬ 
portation enjoyed by the residents of the east, there was a 
disposition to move away. By the census of 1800, eight 
eastern counties had lost population, among them Craven 
and Halifax, and others fell far below the general average 
of increase. In 1810, six eastern counties lost population, 
and others fell below the general average of increase, six¬ 
teen per cent. In the next period, four more at the east 
had lost population, among them New Hanover; nor did 
the emigrants stop in the western counties. They sought 
homes farther away. Perhaps there being much land, and 
but little systematic improvement of the open fields either 
by the use of manure or by rotation of crops, constant cul¬ 
tivation resulted in the impoverishment of the soil. Certainly 
taxation was not oppressive, six cents on the hundred dollars 
worth of property, and the assessment very low. Nor were 
the emigrants from the poor, illiterate class. On the con¬ 
trary it was the better class that was able to remove, men 
who hoped to better their fortunes. The movement was so 
observable that one of the Governors in directing the atten- 
tion of the Assembly to it, mentioned that “the sons having 
gone to the west, and established homes for themselves, their 
fathers proposing to join them were offering their farms 



MOVEMENT OF POPULATION 


335 


for sale, and there was everywhere throughout the State 
much land for sale and no purchasers.” Among the emi¬ 
grants were many men of substance and education who 
carried their slaves with them. And so it was also at the 
west, although the movement from the Piedmont region was 
mostly to north of the Ohio. 

The Piedmont region had originally been occupied by 
Germans and Scotch-Irish, and later, came Quakers from 
Nantucket and elsewhere. These, like the Moravians at 
Salem, had multiplied. 

The great revival of 1800 led to the organization of the 
Synod of the Lutherans in May, 1803. In 1806, in Orange 
and Guilford there were three Lutheran churches; in Rowan 
four, in Lincoln eight, and Lutherans had extended into Ire¬ 
dell, Burke and Wilkes. There were also congregations of 
the Reformed German Church. Thousands of German 
families, however, migrated to Ohio, Indiana and Illinois so 
that there were Lutheran congregations in those states 
composed almost entirely of North Carolinians. 

In 1806 the Moravians had six congregations, five using 
the German language and one the English. And similarly the 
Lutherans held to the German for generations; so likewise 
the Gaelic was still in use on the upper Cape Fear. 

The exodus that was annually kept up for decades by the 
Lutherans did not extend to the Moravians, nor so posi¬ 
tively to the Scotch-Irish: but later it swept vigorously 
through the Quaker settlements, those emigrants going par¬ 
ticularly to Indiana. Mrs. Coffin is said to have given the 
names of 300 Quaker families whose removal to Indiana 
she individually knew of. This general movement was sup¬ 
posed to be to a land of promise; but by this time it is notable 
that there were slaves and free negroes in every county: 
in Ashe, 600; Burke, 800; Buncombe, 1750; Macon, 496 and 
Haywood, 452; and this influenced the Quakers, also. But 
elsewhere there was a similar movement of population. 
The census of 1830 shows that Connecticut, the land of 
steady habits and of common schools, gained in that decade 
but eight per cent in population ; New Hampshire, but ten 


The 

Germans 


Bernheim, 

393 


The 

Quakers 


The 

per cent 



336 


THE CAPITOL BURNED 


The 

incentive 


Ideals 


per cent; South Carolina gained only eight per cent; North 
Carolina, thirteen, and Virginia, fifteen per cent. 

The general incentive to removal was hope of better lo¬ 
cation. In 1819, Murphey, the foremost man in the State 
in progressive ideas, had a notion to quit the State “as soon 
as I get my debts paid off”; and later he had a settled pur¬ 
pose to remove. Whole connections, like those associated 
with the Revolutionary patriot, Col. William Shepperd, 
moved together; the families of William B. Grove, John 
Hay, Sam Porter Ashe and the educator, Dr. Rogers, all 
having married sisters, removed to Tennessee about 1825. 
And so it was frequently. Indeed, a North Carolinian liv¬ 
ing in a new home wrote: “I was almost in hopes that her 
wise men would have abolished the Supreme Court and by 
that means have driven from the State the eminent men who 
yet linger within her borders.” And it is to be remarked 
that much of the patronage of the State University came 
from the families that had moved away. Indeed the exodus 
appears, to have come from the natural desire of enter¬ 
prising people to better their fortunes, shared alike at the 
north and at the south. At that period the public mind had 
long been directed to State improvement. The chief 
thought was to make life more tolerable. The first en¬ 
deavor had been to improve the rivers and water-courses. 
The communities were far separated; a line through the 
State from the northeast to the southwest would reach to 
Canada. Community interests were not similar. There 
were natural obstacles to development, and in the sparsely 
settled country there were obstacles even to much personal 
intercourse between the various strains of population located 
in the several sections of the State. Yet it is to be observed 
that the reports of Murphey, the first geological survey, 
the employment of Fulton, and efforts to improve the rivers 
and introduce railroads, and many other similar measures 
attest gratifying intellectual activity. The public men were 
efficient but conditions were not favorable to achievement. 



EDUCATIONAL SOCIETY 


3 37 


The Teachers’ Institute 

In the spring of 1831, the teachers and others interested 
in education were urged to attend at the commencement of 
the University in June and associate themselves into a 
society. Many did so. On organization, for president was 
chosen Dr. Simmons G. Baker, originally of Martin County 
but later a resident of Raleigh. Dr. Baker was mentioned 
in 1829 by Dr. Mitchell “as a man of liberal education, very 
lively and intelligent in his conversation, a trustee of the 
University. . . . He sets a higher value on the amor 

patriae than any man I have ever known.” Doctor 
McPheeters, Rev. William M. Green and Judge Nash were 
the vice-presidents. Various gentlemen were asked to 
deliver addresses at the next meeting, and at the meeting 
in 1833, Joseph A. Hill, understood to have been the most 
accomplished orator of that period, delivered the address, 
“rendered more acceptable by the wit, fancy and felicity and 
eloquence of language which accompanied and embellished 
it.” But the subsequent meetings of the Society were not 
reported in the papers; apparently the Institute passed away. 

The Capitol destroyed 

Already Raleigh had suffered severely by extensive con¬ 
flagrations. On several occasions the east side of Fayette¬ 
ville Street between Union Square and Martin Street had 
been partially swept away. When Thomas Bragg, the con¬ 
tractor, had nearly completed his work of covering the 
Capitol with a metal roof, through the carelessness of a 
workman, the building caught within the roof. On the 
bright morning in June 21 the citizens were startled by the 
alarm of fire, volumes of smoke were seen issuing from the 
ventilators under the roof. Judge Battle narrates that just 
as he stepped out of his hotel, looking towards the building, 
he saw owls flying from the attic windows, followed by 
lurid flames. There were no adequate means for the ex¬ 
tinguishment of the fire. The citizens gathered and ad¬ 
dressed themselves to saving the State papers, but the 
statue of Washington could not be removed. As the hours 
22 


1831 


June 21, 
1831 


The 

statue of 
Washington 



338 


THE CAPITOL BURNED 


House 

Journal, 145 


Fayetteville 
cooperates 
with west 


The 

northeast for 
rebuilding 


November, 

1831 


Senate 
Journal, 10 


passed, they saw it doomed to destruction. Helpless to 
avert the calamity, they gazed with horror on the splendid 
work of Canova, crumbling in the heat of the conflagra¬ 
tion, and then shattered into fragments as the burning tim¬ 
bers fell upon it. The Capitol was entirely destroyed. 
The Raleigh Register two days later said: “Of that noble 
edifice with its special decorations nothing now remains 
but the blackened walls and smouldering rums. The State 
Library is also entirely consumed and the statue of Wash¬ 
ington, that proud monument of national gratitude which 
was our pride and glory, is so mutilated and defaced that 
none can behold it without mournful feelings. The most 
active exertions were made to remove the chef-d’avoeure of 
Canova from the ravages of the devouring elements nor 
were they desisted from until the danger became imminent.” 

As the day for the assembling of the Legislature ap¬ 
proached, the congregation of the Presbyterian Church pa¬ 
triotically “tendered the use of their meeting house for the 
accommodation of the House of Commons, and their ses¬ 
sion room for the Senate,” but Governor Stokes had the 
Government House prepared for the use of the Legislature. 
When the members of the Assembly arrived he tendered 
them its use. There was some question whether the Legis¬ 
lature could lawfully sit in a building outside of the cor¬ 
porate limits, but the qualms of conscience were quieted. 
The destruction of the Capitol brought a new sectional ques¬ 
tion into the realm of action. Fayetteville hoped to profit 
from the situation, and the west being anxious for railroads 
and for a convention now evidently there was room for 
an alliance. The northeast had originally fixed on the site 
of Raleigh for the Capital and now stood firmly for no 
change of location, besides the northeast was not interested 
in either the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad or in 
the central road. Wilmington and the Cape Fear section 
stood with Fayetteville both as to railroads and the removal 
of the Capitol. Hardly had the Assembly met when Senator 
Seawell of Wake introduced a bill making an appropriation 
for rebuilding the Capitol on Lmion Square. The amount 
was at first left blank; but when he took the bill up, he 



PROPOSITION TO REBUILD 


339 


suggested $30,000. Judge Toomer of Fayetteville pro¬ 
posed $100,000. The Senate inserted $30,000; but Martin 
of Rockingham moved to postpone until November next, 
which was carried 32 to 31. Two days later Dishough of 
Onslow proposed a joint committee to inquire into the ex¬ 
pediency of chartering a road from Beaufort to the Blue 
Ridge and Judge Toomer proposed that the same com¬ 
mittee should inquire as to the building of a road from the 
Cape Fear to the Yadkin; and Williams of Franklin pro¬ 
posed a road from Louisburg to meet the Petersburg road 
near Halifax. Each of these propositions had its bearing 
on the rebuilding of the Capitol. Gaston was delayed in 
attending. When he appeared on December 16, it was 
arranged that he should serve on this railroad committee; 
and coincident with that, Harper of Greene introduced a 
bill in the House to rebuild the Capitol at Raleigh. Two 
days later Gaston reported the two railroad bills that con¬ 
cerned the west, and they were made the order for the fol¬ 
lowing day. Then the House took up the Capitol bill. 
W. H. Haywood, Jr., in support and Louis D. Henry in 
opposition. The discussion continued for two days, it 
being affirmed that the capital could be removed only by a 
convention. Then Henry carried his point, and the bill 
failed by a vote of 65 for; 68 against. The west was now 
hopeful of a convention and a bill authorizing the election 
of delegates to a constitutional convention was submitted. 
On January 4, 1832, the House went into committee of the 
whole to consider the resolutions. The discussion was con¬ 
tinued on the 5th and 6th, when at last a motion to postpone 
indefinitely was carried by 70 to 55. As far as she could, 
Fayetteville rallied her friends for the support of this prop¬ 
osition, but the lower Cape Fear country did not stand 
solidly with her. Senator John M. Dick of Guilford of¬ 
fered a resolution to have an election for delegates to a 
constitutional convention, while in the House the two rail¬ 
road bills were passed and were sent to the Senate. The 
Senate now spent two days on the convention bill and post¬ 
poned it indefinitely, 42 to 21 ; and then the railroad bills 
were passed. Three days later, Senator Sneed of Granville 


1831 


The contest 


The west 
hopes for a 
convention 




340 


THE CAPITOL BURNED 


House 
Journal 
1831, p. 43 


The statue 


Acts 
1831-32, 
p. 138 


offered a new bill to rebuild the Capitol at Raleigh. There 
was a long and stiff fight, but on January n, the eve of 
adjournment, a vote was reached resulting in a tie and the 
Speaker voted nay! Both the convention and Capitol bills 
had failed, but the railroad bills were passed. 

During the debate on the rebuilding of the Capitol, Gaston 
made two great speeches for the bill, the first of which was 
published. Mr. Creecy, who heard both, said that the 
second was the greatest speech ever delivered in a legis¬ 
lative body, and the defeat of the proposition to remove 
the Capitol has been ascribed to Gaston. It was his last 
service in the Assembly. He insisted that the location of 
the Capitol could not be changed by the Legislature. 

Governor Stokes while lamenting the destruction of the 
statue of Washington said to the Assembly when it met, 
that in his opinion “the loss of the building itself is not to 
be considered a public calamity; that it was very probable 
that a part of the building would have fallen in a few years 
and perhaps have caused the death of many of the Represent¬ 
atives.” The destruction of the statue, which was regarded 
as one of the great treasures of the world, was lamented 
not only here but throughout the North. Six days after the 
fire, a sculptor, Ball Hughes, an Englishman who had been 
in this country two years, wrote to Mr. Thomas Devereux 
saying that Mr. Robert Lennox had suggested that he 
might offer his services for restoring the statue. In Decem¬ 
ber, Hughes was in Raleigh, and after an examination said 
he could restore it. Immediately the Legislature appointed 
a committee of which Gaston was chairman who reported 
that they believed Hughes could do the work satisfactorily, 
and that he would charge $5,000 for the service. The Legis¬ 
lature authorized the Governor to make a contract with him 
on the terms of the report-. Such a contract was made, and 
first and last $2,800 was paid him, but unfortunately he did 
not complete the work. The pieces of the statue have been 
preserved at Raleigh. 

The Assembly passed resolutions approving Jackson’s ad¬ 
ministration declaring that “the best interests of the Union 
will be preserved and promoted bv his reelection and recom- 



ANTI-SLAVERY CAMPAIGN 


34i 


mending him to the people of the United States for 
reelection.” 

A free school established 

Among the other acts was one establishing a free school 
in Johnston County. It authorized the county court to lay 
a county tax to establish one or more free schools in John¬ 
ston County. Also at that session the Yadkin Manufac¬ 
turing Company was incorporated to manufacture cotton 
and woolen goods. The capital stock was to be $100,000. 
Charles Fisher and Samuel Lemly were among the incor¬ 
porators. Similarly the Neuse Manufacturing Company, 
composed of William Boylan, J. O. Watson, David Thomp¬ 
son and others, was incorporated to manufacture cotton and 
woolen goods, with a capital of $100,000. 

Aat Turner’s insurrection 

At this period a great campaign was conducted in England 
for the emancipation of the slaves in the British West In¬ 
dies, which was successful in 1830, and then some English 
orators made addresses in Northern States. And coincident 
with their coming the basis of Northern opposition to slavery 
seemed to change. Formerly it had been political; now 
the moral question became more prominent. Conscience 
was awakened; and fanaticism knew no bounds. Speaking 
of the negroes in the State, Governor Stokes said in his 
message: “Fanatics of their complexion and other incen¬ 
diaries have fomented their discontents and have incited 
them in many instances to enter into conspiracies dan¬ 
gerous to the peace and safety of the country.” So, at 
the session of 1830 the Joint Select Committee on the 
Governor’s message, reported; “they are satisfied that an 
extensive combination now exists to excite in the minds of 
the slaves and colored persons of this and the other slave¬ 
holding states, feelings and opinions tending to insurrection. 
. . . Designs have been certainly contemplated and, per¬ 

haps, plans actually formed, to subvert the relation of master 
and slave. The actual detection of the circulation of the 


New mills 


1831 



342 


THE CAPITOL BURNED 


House 

Journal 

238-243 


Nat Turner 


At 

Wilmington 


Chronicles 
of the Cape 
Fear, 107 


incendiary publications and the accidental but partial dis¬ 
covery of the designs, which have been entertained by some 
slaves at points of the State remote from each other, to¬ 
gether with the disclosure of facts relative to those designs, 
leave no doubt, etc. . . . It is fruitless to complain of the 
relation between master and slave. . . . It is a state of 

things thrown upon us, an evil which it is impossible at 
present to remedy. And when we observe the radical 
difference between the ideas, the deportment and habits of 
the slaves of the present day and those of twenty years since, 
we are justly led to fear that unless some change in our 
general police is effected, the most ruinous consequence 
may be apprehended.” The committee reported bills; one 
was to prevent all persons from teaching slaves to read and 
write (figures excepted) which was passed. Months after 
this report was made, on Sunday night, August 21, 1831, 
a. band of some sixty negroes, under the leadership of a 
negro slave, Nat Turner, murdered in Southampton County, 
Virginia, fifty-five persons. The next day became known 
as Bloody Monday. The other whites in that vicinity fled 
across the line to Murfreesboro, the nearest town. A troop 
of horse was at once raised, among them being John H. 
Wheeler, the historian. They along with others scoured 
the country, arresting the negroes. 

A plot for a similar insurrection was discovered near 
Wilmington. There was much alarm felt in the country, 
and the whites hurried to the town. At the fall term 1831, 
of New Hanover Superior Court six negroes were 
placed in jail charged with attempting to incite an insur¬ 
rection. Judge Strange presided and the negroes after an 
impartial trial were convicted and executed. While no 
other outburst is recorded there was widespread alarm: 
and when the Assembly met provision was made for military 
companies to be organized in many counties. 

But thoughtful men realized more than ever the situation 
of the Southern States, with such a large population of 
Africans held to servitude, who could not without peril be 
turned loose as freemen, nor deported from this country. 
At the University commencement in 1832, Gaston, the fore- 



DUTIES OF CITIZENSHIP 


343 


most North Carolinian, delivered an address on the Duties 
of Citizenship. In it he referred to the existence of slavery; 
and said: “On you, too, will devolve the duty, which has been 
too long neglected, but which cannot with impunity be neg¬ 
lected much longer, of providing for the mitigation, and 
(is it too much to be hoped for in North Carolina) for the 
ultimate extirpation of the worst evil that afflicts the south¬ 
ern part of our confederacy. . . . On this subject there 

is with all of us a morbid sensitiveness which gives warning 
even of an approach to it. How this evil is to be encoun¬ 
tered, how subdued, is indeed a difficult and delicate inquiry, 
which this is not the time to examine or discuss. I felt 
however, that I could not discharge my duty without re¬ 
ferring to this subject, to engage the prudence, modera¬ 
tion and firmness of those who, sooner or later, must act 
decisively upon it. . . . Perils surround you and are 

imminent, which will require clear heads, pure intentions 
and stout hearts to disarm and overcome.” 


Gaston’s 

warning 



CHAPTER XXII 


Swain Governor 

Influence of Virginia’s action.—The New England Society.— 
Jackson breaks with Calhoun.—The Cabinet resigns.—The Na¬ 
tional Republicans.—The first national political convention.— 
The elections go against Clay.—South Carolina calls a convention. 
—It declares the tariff laws shall not be observed after Feb¬ 
ruary, 1833.—Jackson’s stand.—His Force Bill.—The country 
goes against Clay.—He averts civil war.—The compromise.— 
Mangum leaves the President.—Caldwell’s letters on schools.— 
The Virginia roads,—The experimental railroad.—Political con¬ 
ditions.—Swain’s career.—Elected Governor.—Pearson proposes a 
convention.—The Capitol to be rebuilt.—Convention fails.—Reso¬ 
lutions of Polk of Anson to submit the convention to popular 
vote.—A tie vote.—Speaker Henry disappoints Fayetteville; de¬ 
feats the proposition.—The western members hold a meeting, 
asking the people to vote.—The North Carolina Historical So¬ 
ciety.—The Bank of the iState winds up, and State Bank char¬ 
tered.—Provision for rebuilding.—The Internal Improvement Con¬ 
vention.—Caldwell’s ideas prevail.—Hill victorious over Graham 
as to State policy.—The falling stars.—Swain’s great message 
urges progress and reform.—He announces vote on Convention 
in 30 counties.—Yancey County.—The second Improvement Con¬ 
vention.—Many railroad charters granted.—No State aid.—Daniel 
Attorney-General.—Banks and academies.—The Manual Labor 
schools.—The Griffin Free School at New Bern.—The west again 
disappointed.—Chief Justice dies.—Ruffin Chief Justice.—Gaston 
on thei bench.—His opions.—A free born negro a citizen.— 
Will’s case. 

The west successful in Virginia 

Conditions in Virginia were quite similar to those in 
North Carolina. The settled east, with its slave population, 
and the remote west were in conflict over constitutional 
reforms. At length, in 1828, the Legislature of Virginia 
submitted the question of a convention to the voters, and 
the west won. The convention met in October, 1829, and 
adjourned in January, 1830. The changes made in the 
Constitution increased the power of the western counties; 
and this object lesson necessarily had an inspiring influence 


FIRST POLITICAL CONVENTION 


345 


- * - — 

in Western Carolina. Indeed, on December 28, 1830, Mr. 
Alfred C. Moore of Surry County presented resolutions in 
the Assembly submitting to the voters the question of call¬ 
ing a convention; but it was defeated in the House by a 
vote of 74 to 53. North Carolina was not ready to follow 
the example of Virginia. 

Emancipation 

However, the debates in the Virginia convention touch¬ 
ing the negro question, not only influenced the white voters 
of Western Virginia, but contributed to the agitation per¬ 
vading the North. Indeed, at the Virginia Assembly of 

1832, a proposition was offered looking to the gradual 
emancipation of the slaves, following the example of Great 
Britain, and despite the Nat Turner insurrection, it failed 
by only one or two votes. 

Virginia was about ready for gradual emancipation. But 
contemporaneously with these events in Virginia, a party, 
insisting on immediate abolition, sprang up at the North, and 
in January, 1832, the New England Anti-Slavery Society 
was formed by William Lloyd Garrison, and in December, 

1833, a National Anti-Slavery Convention was held in 
Philadelphia, the slogan being, “Immediate Emancipation.” 
This new development tended to stifle any inclination at 
the South to favorably consider gradual emancipation, and 
it resulted in throwing around the slaves still greater re¬ 
strictions in their daily life. 

Jackson reelected 

About the beginning of 1831, Jackson withdrew his per¬ 
sonal friendship from Vice President Calhoun, and in the 
spring of 1831, for social reasons, he found it necessary 
to reorganize his Cabinet; and Branch along with all other 
Cabinet officers resigned. 

In December, 1831, when Congress met, there was held 
at Baltimore the first national political convention, an in¬ 
novation that supplied the place of the congressional cau¬ 
cus. The supporters of Henry Clay, still calling thern- 


The first 
national 
convention 



346 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


South 

Carolina’s 

action 

July, 1832 


The South 

Carolina 

convention 


Nov. 1832 


-f- 

selves National Republicans, met there in convention and 
nominated him for President and John Sergeant for Vice 
President. 

And in May, 1832, a similar convention of Administra¬ 
tion Republicans nominated Jackson and Van Buren. In the 
meantime, Congress was considering a new tariff bill, intro¬ 
duced by Clay, that was worse in its provisions and oper¬ 
ations than “the Bill of Abominations/’ and it became a 
law in July. It added fuel to the fire raging in South Caro¬ 
lina, where the State Convention was called with the view 
of declaring the Tariff Act null and void in South Carolina. 

When the Presidential election was held Jackson received 
a popular vote of 687,502; Clay 530,189; Jackson had 
219 electoral votes while Clay had only 49; and Van Buren 
became Vice President. Calhoun resigned as Vice Presi¬ 
dent and returned to the Senate. 

When the South Carolina Convention met, the Virginia 
Legislature sent a commissioner to urge it to postpone ac¬ 
tion until Congress could consider the situation, and the 
Convention, listening to the appeal of Virginia, postponed 
the crisis by declaring that the tariff legislation should be 
of no effect in that state after February 1, 1833. A breath¬ 
ing spell was thus afforded to Congress. But Jackson was 
determined to enforce the laws, and he issued a proclama¬ 
tion against nullification that, as a state paper, was of the 
highest merit, and he asked Congress to pass a force bill. 
In the Senate this Force Bill passed by a bare quorum, with 
one vote in the negative, the other Senators not voting. 
The country having gone so positively against Clay that he 
realized that the “American system” was doomed, and the 
danger of civil war being imminent, and Clay, being always 
apprehensive that Jackson, the military hero, would assume 
the reins of government as dictator, now sought to compose 
differences, and held conferences with Calhoun and others to 
save the country from war. A new tariff measure was 
agreed on that was satisfactory to Calhoun. It provided 
for a reduction of duties for nine years, the abandonment of 
protection, and for revenue duties of twenty per cent ad va¬ 
lorem. It was a complete settlement of the vexed question 



AGITATION FOR EDUCATION 


34 7 


and allayed the antagonism of that period. Clay had received 
applause on bringing about the amicable settlement of 
differences in 1821, and now ten years later he was hailed as 
the great patriot, saving the Union by his compromise. 
During the progress of these measures, Senator Mangum 
who had at the previous election been a Jackson elector, 
drew away from his old leader, and became a supporter of 
Clay, while Senator Bedford Brown adhered to the admin¬ 
istration. In the meantime another subject that was des¬ 
tined to agitate the public mind was taking shape. The 
charter of the United States Bank at Philadelphia was about 
to expire and Jackson was opposed to its extension. These 
differences led to important realignments.. 

Caldwell’s letters on schools 

Dr. Caldwell, who had so strongly urged the construction 
of a central railroad without avail in 1830, began an agita¬ 
tion for the education of the people of the State. 

In a series of a dozen letters brought together and pub¬ 
lished in 1832, along with a voluminous appendix, he urged 
the subject of education on the attention of the people. He 
realized that there was no possibility of establishing public 
schools in the counties either by taxation or by borrowing 
the necessary funds. The unfortunate condition of the 
interior of the State, where the people were denied facilities 
for transporting their produce to market so that nothing 
except cotton could be profitably raised and sold abroad, 
made it difficult for them even to pay their necessary taxes. 
Therefore, nothing was to be gained by studying the New 
York system which had been started, founded on local 
taxation, or that of Connecticut where the interests on the 
fund derived from the sale of Connecticut’s part of Ohio 
sufficed to maintain the schools. Here a different system 
must be resorted to, taxation being out of the question. He 
urged that as the Literary Fund amounted to $100,000, the 
interest on that should be used to establish a central school 
for the preparation of teachers. These competent teachers 
being ready for employment, the people would establish 


The 

compromise 


1832 


The want of 
teachers 




348 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


1832 


The 

railroads 


The 

experimental 

railroad 


schools for them: for he largely ascribed the absence of 
schools to the want of teachers. Although some of the 
graduates of the University taught schools, yet the courses 
at the University were rather for the education of those en¬ 
gaging in the learned professions than in the practical work 
of teaching children. While Dr. Caldwell’s plan was not 
carried into execution, his letters contributed to keeping 
the general subject of public education before the public, 
and there were constant efforts made to start the ball, but 
without avail. 

The Petersburg Railroad was now under construction, 
and as it progressed it hauled freight and passengers with 
the result of illustrating to the people of Halifax the value 
of this new system of transportation. 

Similarly, the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad was 
being built, and each of these companies needed some legis¬ 
lation. The first desired a terminus at a point on the Roan¬ 
oke where the land belonged to J. S. Amis and the Legis¬ 
lature authorized the incorporation of a town there to be 
known as Blakely in honor of the naval hero; and the 
Portsmouth road desired a terminus opposite Weldon and 
the Legislature assented. 

As it was thought that the Capitol would be rebuilt at 
Raleigh and in its construction stone would be used, quarried 
on the State’s land in the vicinity, a road was being built to 
haul the stone, and in November a charter was granted to 
“Joseph Gales, William Polk, George W. Mordecai and 
others who have; heretofore subscribed and commenced 
the erection of an experimental railroad under the name of 
‘Experimental Railroad Company.’ ” 

There has b.een a well-founded tradition that the first con¬ 
ception of this project was by Mrs. Sarah Polk, the wife 
of Col. William Polk; she was one of the most urgent pro¬ 
moters of the undertaking and the Polks were the principal 
stockholders. 

The company had been organized in the summer; and 
fortunately a competent engineer was at hand to construct 
the road. At the former residence of Chief Justice Taylor 
at Raleigh, a military school was in progress under the di- 



THE RALEIGH RAILROAD 


349 


rection of Captain Daniel Bingham, and he with two of 
his pupils, Richard B. Haywood and another, had super¬ 
vision of the work. The cost was $22,500 a mile. The 
construction was well done; and the road was nearly com¬ 
pleted when the Assembly met and granted the charter. It 
was finished January 1, 1833. “A handsome car was put 
on it for the use of ladies and gentlemen desiring to take 
a railroad airing.” The motive power was a good old 
horse. People came from the adjoining counties to ride on 
it: but its chief use was in hauling stone for the Capitol. 
As an enterprise the road was a success and it made money 
for the stockholders. Such was the beginning of railways in 
North Carolina. 

When the Assembly met in November, 1832, the members 
were much divided both as to state questions and the Federal 
matters that had agitated the people during the year. Up¬ 
permost was, perhaps, the dread of war, the attitude of 
South Carolina threatening nullification and secession, and 
the known determination of the President to ignore such 
action and enforce the laws, following his proclamation and 
application to Congress for a force bill. 

Jackson was not imbued with the principles of the Ken¬ 
tucky Resolutions of 1798, of which Jefferson was the 
author, but held that the Union must be maintained and the 
laws enforced. The difference between him and South 
Carolina was irreconcilable. In the Assembly there were 
some in full sympathy with South Carolina, while the 
majority, although denouncing the tariff as even unconsti¬ 
tutional, were intent that the Union should be preserved. 
In State matters, the new subject of railroads claimed at¬ 
tention, but of surpassing interest were the unsettled ques¬ 
tions of the rebuilding of the State House at Raleigh, and 
of calling a convention to relieve the western counties of the 
injustice they suffered under the existing Constitution. 

To meet Judge Gaston’s view that the State capital could 
not be removed by legislative' action, some of those who 
favored removal now hoped for a convention to deal with 
that matter. 


1832 


Battle’s 
address, 
1877, p. 64 


Nullification 


Other 

questions 



350 


SIVAIN GOVERNOR 


1832 


Governor 

Swain 


The western 
grants 


No change was made in the presiding officers: but Gov¬ 
ernor Stokes who, having served only two terms as Gov¬ 
ernor, was eligible to a reelection, announced that he had 
accepted an appointment from the President as commis¬ 
sioner to make treaties with the Indians at the far West, 
and would not be a candidate. A new Governor was to be 
chosen. Richard D. Spaight, Thomas G. Polk of Rowan, 
and John Branch were aspirants. After ineffectual bal¬ 
loting for several days Judge Swain was proposed and 
was elected. The rise of this young Buncombe man was 
phenomenal. His mother was a sister of Joel Lane of 
Raleigh, and after four months at the University, he had 
studied law in Raleigh under Chief Justice Taylor, and had 
served his native county in the Assembly for five years, 
ending in 1829. During this period he married Miss White 
of Raleigh, a granddaughter of Governor Caswell, and be¬ 
came a brother-in-law of Hon. D. L. Barringer, Represent- 
active in Congress from the Wake district, who had married a 
sister of Miss White. While still in the Assembly a bitter 
contest had arisen between two lawyers of the Edenton dis¬ 
trict for the office of solicitor of that district. To end the 
feud, both factions, by common consent, agreed to com¬ 
promise by taking this Buncombe lawyer. Swain served 
as solicitor during one circuit, and then in December, 1830, 
he was elected judge of the Superior court. He had served 
but two years in that capacity when he was chosen Governor, 
taking the office December 6, 1832, being then not thirty-two 
years of age. He had, however, given assurance not only 
of fine character but of great industry and unusual mental 
capacity. Years earlier several hundred thousand acres 
of land in the western part of the State had been entered 
by some citizens of Pennsylvania, who had perfected their 
grants: but these lands were within the Indian reservation. 
Later, after the State bought these lands from the Indians, 
native citizens also made entries and perfected their grants 
in the same territory. It .was now considered that the 
former grants were void; and in the conflict of interest, the 
State determined to defend the title of its citizens under the 
later grants. Judge Badger was employed by the State, 



MOVEMENT FOR A CONVENTION 


35i 


and he associated the young Buncombe lawyer with him in 
the case. To Swain was due the preparation of the hundred 
cases brought in ejectment against the actual residents. 
Swain’s fee was $1,000; the cases were not finally deter¬ 
mined when Swain was elected Governor, and he returned to 
the State $500, one-half of his fee. 

The cases were eventually won in the Supreme Court of 
the United States, and Judge Badger ascribed the result to 
Swain’s indomitable industry, patient research and acumen. 
Such were the characteristics of this unusually gifted young 
mountaineer now called to direct the affairs of state; and 
in him the west found a powerful colaborer for all of its just 
claims for State action. 

A week after the Assembly met, Richmond Pearson then 
of Rowan, introduced a resolution to appoint a joint select 
committee, one member of each house from every Congres¬ 
sional district, to consider the subject of a convention. The 
House responded favorably, as also did the Senate. On 
the same day Mr. Long offered a bill making an appropria¬ 
tion for building the Capitol at Raleigh. A fortnight passed 
and the House by a vote of 73 to 60 passed the Long bill 
which reached the Senate on December 17. The next day 
the select committee on convention to whom had been 
referred a resolution relative to the seat of government, 
made a report accompanied by a bill providing for a con¬ 
vention. The fight was now on. Mr. Collins moved that 
the consideration of the convention bill be indefinitely post¬ 
poned, and was successful, the vote being 33 to 27. When 
two days later Long’s House bill to build the Capitol at 
Raleigh came up in the Senate, Senator Hoke moved that 
each county should collect as taxes $780 and the Capitol 
should be built out of that fund only. However that was a 
feeble effort, having only seven votes to sustain it; and the 
bill passed finally 33 to 30. The efforf to remove the Capitol 
had failed. The State House was to be rebuilt. In the 
meantime a motion in the House on December 20, to take up 
a bill to establish the western county of Yancey resulted in 
a tie, and the Speaker, L. D. Henry, voting in the affirma¬ 
tive, the bill was taken up and the next day passed 63 to 60; 


1833 


Swain’s 

industry 


The 

convention 

movement 


The Capitol 
to be rebuilt 


House 

Journal, 197 



35 2 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


Ibid., 211 


Ibid., 

232-233 


Speaker 
disappoints 
the west 


The west 
appeals to 
the people 


but three days later it failed in the Senate 27 to 33. On 
the same day the committee on convention reported in the 
Senate a bill for a convention, and it was postponed; Mr. 
Pearson from the same committee then reported in the 
House a bill for taking the votes of the people for or 
against certain proposed amendments to the Constitution: 
but the consideration of that bill was postponed until next 
November. 

The west defeated at every turn was now desperate, and 
on the eve of the final day of the session, Mr. Park of 
Anson offered a series of strong resolutions: “That the 
location of the seat of government at some convenient and 
proper place (such as Haywood) would be highly con¬ 
ducive to rearing a large and flourishing commercial town 
so necessary for the attainment of general prosperity; that 
the election of the chief magistrate ought to be by direct 
vote of the people, and for a longer period than one year; 
that a convention is absolutely necessary; that it be recom¬ 
mended to the people, at next election, to determine by 
ballot whether or not a convention should be called.” The 
introduction of these resolutions was instantly met by a 
motion to table. The result was a tie 58 to 58. 

Now for a moment the west was jubilant, the Speaker, 
Louis D. Henry, represented Fayetteville, and Fayetteville 
was the friend of the west. But Henry disappointed all 
reasonable expectations and offended Fayetteville by voting 
to table. The western members were dismayed by his 
action; but quickly they determined to appeal to the people. 
On the same day, January 4, they held “a large and respecta¬ 
ble. meeting, and adopted an address to the people, urging 
them to vote at the next August election on the subject of 
holding a convention,” and for the sheriffs to make due re¬ 
turn thereof to the Governor, for Governor Swain was in 
entire accord and sympathy with the movement. With or 
without legislative sanction, the people would speak. 

While the Governor's mansion was officially known as the 
Government House, at this period it seems to have been 
also called the Palace, for on January 1, 1833, a committee 
of Senators was raised “to examine the roof of the Palace.” 




IMPROVEMENT CONVENTION 


353 


At this session the North Carolina Historical Society was 
incorporated, among the members being James Iredell, Gov¬ 
ernor Swain, Alfred Moore, Louis D. Henry, Isaac T. 
Avery, Joseph A. Hill, William D. Moseley and Richmond 
Pearson. Such was the earliest manifestations of Gov¬ 
ernor Swain’s interest in historical subjects, which later won 
him a particular distinction and added to his great usefulness. 

The old Bank of the State of North Carolina after Judge 
Ruffin went on the Supreme Court again elected Judge 
Duncan Cameron its president, and he succeeded in winding 
it up admirably. At this session there was chartered the 
State Bank, the State taking a million dollars of stock and 
private individuals were allowed to subscribe another million. 
Thereafter the banking business in the State came to a 
sound basis and ceased to give public concern. 

To rebuild the State House, William Boylan, Duncan 
Cameron, Treasurer William S. Mhoon, Judge Henry Sea- 
well, and R. M. Saunders were appointed commissioners. 
They were to employ an architect, and make contracts, and 
the granite from the State quarry was to be used. An ap¬ 
propriation was made of $50,000, but at the next session 
the limit was removed and the commissioners were empow¬ 
ered to draw such warrants as were necessary to complete 
the building. 

Internal Improvement Convention 

The era of railroads had arrived. Dr. Caldwell’s letters 
were now understood and public thought was directed to 
this new method of transportation. Hope of advantages 
to the State was awakened. On July 4, 1833, there met at 
Raleigh one hundred and twenty delegates, representing 
twenty-one counties, chiefly in the eastern and northern sec¬ 
tions of the State. It was the first concerted effort to se¬ 
cure railroad facilities and was known as the Internal Im¬ 
provement Convention. 

Governor Swain, ever an advocate of progress, presided, 
while Treasurer Samuel L. Patterson and Charles Manly, 
the clerk of the House, were secretaries. The personnel of 

the body was so remarkable that it was recorded: “So manv 
23 


1833 


Historical 

Society 


The State 
Bank 


Building 

commis¬ 

sioners 


Cape Fear 

Chronicles, 

158 



354 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


The State 
policy 


distinguished and talented men are said never before to have 
assembled in the State.” 

William A. Graham, then in the prime of his rare abilities, 
urged as the policy of the State three north and south lines 
of railroad, conforming to the course of trade that the 
natural conditions had imposed on the inhabitants of the 
several divisions of the State. He was antagonized by 
Joseph Alston Hill of Wilmington, who inherited the Demos¬ 
thenic powers of his grandfather, General Ashe, and pro¬ 
posed the policy advocated by Caldwell of building up the 
State by marketing the produce of the west through the sea¬ 
ports of the east. A State policy was to be inaugurated. It 
was a battle of giants; Hill won. The convention adopted 
resolutions to the effect that the General Assembly ought 
to raise by loans such sums as will “afford substantial as¬ 
sistance in the prosecution of the public works; that the 
State should subscribe for two-fifths of the stock; that no 
work should be encouraged for conveying produce to a 
primary market out of the State; and that a corresponding 
committee of twenty be appointed in each county; and that 
a second convention be held on the fourth Monday in No¬ 
vember.” Steps were at once taken to give body and sub¬ 
stance to its resolves. Circulars were issued to counties 
urging action. Propositions were formulated for the people 
to apply for charters for railroad companies. Much interest 
was aroused. The people responded. 

The falling stars 

“By far the most splendid display of shooting meteors on 
record was that of November 13, 1833. It seems to have 
been visible over nearly the whole of the northern portion 
of the American continent, or, more exactly, from the Ca¬ 
nadian lakes nearly to the equator. Over this immense 
area a sight of the most imposing grandeur seems to have 
been witnessed. The phenomenon commenced at about 
midnight, and was at its height at about 5 a.m. Several of 
the meteors were of peculiar form and considerable mag¬ 
nitude. One was especially remarked from its remaining 
for some time in the zenith over the Falls of Niagara, 



FALLING STARS 


355 


emitting radiant streams of light. In many parts of the 
country the population were terror-stricken by the beauty 
and magnificence of the spectacle before them.” 

The Raleigh Register said editorially on November 19: 
“On Wednesday morning our attention was called to the 
most sublime meteoric display we have ever witnessed. We 
observed it first about an hour before day, an unusual bril¬ 
liancy lighting the room. From the zenith to the horizon 
on every side, space was filled with what seemed falling 
stars, some gliding gently downward, some rushing madly 
from their sphere, all with a grandeur which no language 
can describe. . . . The occasion was to many, of course, 

the cause of great alarm; to some from ignorance; to others 
from a constitutional propensity to superstition. It is said 
that prayers were offered by lips that never prayed before. 
Some said the light was so bright that they could read by 
it. Travelers, alone on the roads, were particularly im¬ 
pressed with the awful spectacle that seemed to be the 
opening scene in the drama of the destruction of the world.” 
As the phenomenon was so extensive and so long continued, 
its effect on the people was memorable. 

A planter of South Carolina thus narrates the effect of 
the phenomenon on the minds of the ignorant blacks: “I 
was suddenly awakened by the most distressing cries that 
ever fell on my ears. Shrieks of horror and cries for 
mercy I could hear from most of the negroes of the three 
plantations, amounting in all to about 600 or 800. While 
earnestly listening for the cause I heard a faint voice near 
the door, calling my name. I arose, and, taking my sword, 
stood at the door. At this moment I heard the same voice 
still beseeching me to rise, and saying, ‘O my God, the 
world is on fire!’ I then opened the door, and it is difficult 
to say which excited me the most, the awfulness of the 
scene, or the distressed cries of the negroes. Upwards of 
100 lay prostrate on the ground, some speechless, and some 
with the bitterest cries, but with their hands raised, implor¬ 
ing God to save the world and them. The scene was truly 
awful; for never did rain fall much thicker than the meteors 


1833 


Chambers, 

760-765 



356 


SIVAIN GOVERNOR 


N ovember, 
1833 


Swain’s 

message 


fell towards the earth; east, west, north and south, it was 
the same.” 

When the Assembly met William D. Moseley of Lenoir 
and William J. Alexander of Mecklenburg were chosen 
speakers. There was naturally interest felt in what Gov¬ 
ernor Swain in the freshness of young manhood was going 
to say about public matters. Nearly every other state was 
passing resolutions relating to Federal matters and the 
Governor transmitted them to the Assembly, but he con¬ 
fined himself exclusively to State concerns. While our 
predecessors, said he, “were anxiously disposed to advance 
the improvement of the State by providing facilities for 
trade, increasing our agricultural productions, diffusing the 
advantages of education and adapting our laws to the im¬ 
proved condition of society, little had been accomplished 
compared with what the excited hopes and expectations de¬ 
manded. The apathy has. been most strikingly exhibited by 
the fact that the expenses of the General Assembly have ex¬ 
ceeded the aggregate of all other expenditures.” He referred 
to the excitement pervading every section of the State on in¬ 
ternal improvements; and the demand for contributions 
from the public treasury. He urged that the efforts to 
improve transportation had not been without its value. 
“When it is recollected that in 1818 we were inexperienced, 
that several works were begun simultaneously, that the im¬ 
provements began at the sources of the rivers instead of 
at their mouths, and other mistakes, the result was not 
discouraging. The introduction of the railroad system is 
a new era. My own opinion is that the great channels of 
intercommunication demand the exclusive attention and 
patronage of the government, local roads can be left to 
those interested, aided by a uniform State subscription to 
each project.” He urged State action for progress in all 
lines; and particularly he asked attention to the system of 
taxation. “No income tax, only taxes on land and the poll, 
and these evaded.” He wanted a new leaf turned over in 
every line. 

And indeed it was time, for while under the act of 1819, 
which was still in operation, the owner was to list his land 



DEPRECIATION OF LAND VALUES 


35 7 


at its value but at not less than the value affixed by the as¬ 
sessors under the act of Congress in 1815, yet the Treas¬ 
urer’s report showed that although the valuation ought to 
have been at least 56 millions, in 1833 it was only 43 mil¬ 
lions, 13 millions less than in 1815. The average value had 
fallen from $2.69 to $2.27. In every county, except one or 
two, the value had decreased. In Edgecombe, Jones, Pitt, 
Bertie and Craven, its value was only one-fourth of what 
it was in 1815. The picture presented is fearful to con¬ 
template. Indeed the land valuation had been gradually 
diminishing ever since 1820. For State purposes the land 
tax was six cents, and the average tax for county purposes 
was 26 cents, and the poll 60 cents. 

A few days later he transmitted the result of the voting 
in the counties that voted on the question of a convention, 
“showing that the people of the western counties had the 
matter much at heart; and he cherished the hope that the 
Assembly would act favorably on the proposition.” In 
thirty counties the people had voted, casting 29,505 votes 
for a convention, none, to the contrary. Quickly after the 
members were in their seats, Irving of Rutherford moved 
in the House for a joint select committee to consider 
amendments to the Constitution. Both Houses agreed to it.- 
Then on December 16, Irvine from that committee reported 
a bill to submit certain amendments to the people: but when 
an effort was made to take the bill up, the House refused 
by 79 to 46. 

At every session since Yancey’s death an effort had been 
made to establish a new county at the west to be named 
Yancey, but it had ever failed. However, on December 9, 
1833, the bill passed the Senate by 33 to 28; among the 33 
being Otway Burns. Coming up in the House five days 
later, Charles W. Nixon, member from Chowan, moved to 
amend it by adding an additional section establishing the 
county of Roanoke, beginning at the mouth of Alligator 
Creek running south twenty-five miles, then southeast to the 
ocean, and north along the seaboard to Kill-Devil Hill, 
then west to Alligator River; which, however, received only 
49 votes. Then Mr. Potts of Halifax moved to give that 


Depreciation 


At the east 


Convention 

vote 


House 
Journal, 
1883, p. 149 


Ibid., 197 



358 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


1833 


Yancey 

County 


Internal 

Improve¬ 

ment 

Convention 


Railroad 

charters 


No State 
aid 


territory proposed to be embraced in Yancey County more 
convenient administration of justice but without representa¬ 
tion: this also without avail. The bill then passed 67 to 63. 
Thus at length in the closing days of 1833, the west finally 
obtained the desired county and the county seat was named 
Burnsville. 

While the Assembly was in session, the adjourned Inter¬ 
nal Improvement Convention met in the Government House. 
It prepared a memorial to the Legislature embodying its 
views and recommendations: and the Assembly in joint 
session received the convention, and appointed a special 
committee to consider the memorial. But as yet the Legis¬ 
lature was not ready to lay taxes, or to borrow money for 
such enterprises; and many charters were granted, without 
carrying State aid. Some of the proposed roads were of 
general interest, but others were merely of local advantage; 
such as the Lumber River and Cape Fear Railroad, the 
Whiteville, Waccamaw and Cape Fear Canal and Railroad 
Company, the Campbellton and Fayetteville, the Halifax 
and Weldon. But there were charters for the Greenville 
and Roanoke Railroad Company; the Roanoke and Raleigh 
to connect with either Weldon or Halifax; the Wilmington 
and Raleigh; the North Carolina Center and Seaport Rail¬ 
road to connect Raleigh with Beaufort Harbor; the Roan¬ 
oke and Yadkin Valley Railroad to run from Blakely or 
Weldon to some point on the Yadkin, and the Cape Fear, 
Yadkin and Pee Dee, which was one of the enterprises of 
most interest. This road was to go from Fayetteville to 
the narrows of the Yadkin, and then along the lower 
courses of the river to the mouth of Rocky River, and then 
to penetrate Mecklenburg and Lincoln counties; while an ¬ 
other branch was to go to Asheboro and then on westward. 

The system that would have been established had these 
roads been built would have been of great benefit to the 
State ; but they were to have been constructed by private sub¬ 
scription alone, except the State was willing to bear the 
expense of the survey of some. To none did the Legis¬ 
lature ofifer any aid, but it authorized a lottery to raise 



ACADEMIES BY THE DOZEN 


359 


$50,000 to be vested in stock in the Cape Fear and Yadkin 
and Pee Dee Railroad. 

The Attorney-General, Romulus M. Saunders, having 
accepted an appointment from the President as Commis¬ 
sioner under the act of Congress for carrying into execution 
the convention between France and the United States, some 
thought such an employment vacated his office as Attorney- 
General, and a resolution to that effect was adopted by the 
House; whereupon Saunders resigned as Attorney-General, 
and John R. J. Daniel of Halifax replaced him. 

Originally, on the destruction of the Capitol, the Presbyte¬ 
rian congregation had offered its church building and ses¬ 
sion room for the use of the Legislature, but the Govern¬ 
ment House having been already prepared for the Legis¬ 
lature by Governor Stokes the offer was not accepted; but 
now in December, 1833, a committee was raised to consider 
the question. 

Banks 

Despite the hostility to banks, when the time came to 
wind up the existing banks, they were all either rechartered 
or replaced by other similar institutions. At the session of 
1833 acts were passed to recharter the Bank of Cape Fear, 
to establish the Merchants Bank at New Bern, and the Al¬ 
bemarle Bank at Edenton; and to establish “The Bank of the 
State of North Carolina.” The people were to have all the 
currency they needed. 

Academies 

There were more than a dozen academies incorporated at 
this session: among them, the New Garden School; the 
Greensboro Academy and Manual Labor School; the liter¬ 
ary and manual labor institution in the county of Wake, 
known as “The Wake Forest Institute.” Manual labor 
schools were much in vogue in other states, and there were 
several in North Carolina. 

Moses Griffin of New Bern having devised property to 
Edward Graham and William Gaston and others to estab- 


1833 



360 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


Appropri¬ 
ation for 
Capitol 


Senate 
Journal, 114 


House 
Journal, 253 


lish a free school at New Bern, the devisees were declared 
trustees and were incorporated as such to establish the 
“Griffin Free School.” 

Levi, Silliman Ives, Jarvis Baxton, Duncan Cameron, 
Thomas Ruffin, George E. Badger and others were incor¬ 
porated as trustees of “The Episcopal School of North 
Carolina,” and a boys’ school known as “St. Mary’s” was 
started by them in the suburbs of Raleigh. 

The act making an appropriation of $50,000 for rebuild¬ 
ing the Capitol directed that “the general plan shall be the 
same as the former building, and the low r er story at least 
shall be of stone.” When the commissioners began the 
work, Mrs. Polk’s experimental railway was ready for use; 
and the commissioners made a stone foundation that was so 
substantial and costly that at the next session an additional 
$75,000 was allowed for the construction. 

The west again disappointed 

On January 10, 1834, there was introduced in the Senate 
a bill from the select committee to provide for ascertaining 
the sense of the people relative to a convention. It passed 
the first reading 32 to 29. 

An amendment was offered to strike out the clause that 
provided for taking the sense of the people on amending 
the 32d section of the Constitution, prescribing qualifica¬ 
tions for office. The proposed amendment was rejected. 
Mr. Mendenhall moved to amend by striking out the clause 
that future General Assemblies shall not abolish slavery. 
That was lost 16 to 44. The bill having passed the Senate 
31 to 30, was indefinitely postponed in the House by 64 to 
59. It proposed to submit certain amendments of the Con¬ 
stitution to the people. Its failure w r as a great blow to 
the western members who were defeated at all points, save 
alone in the formation of Yancey County. 

Judge Gaston 

In August, 1833, Chief Justice Leonard Henderson hav¬ 
ing died, the State mourned his loss as one of the strongest 




The State Capitol. Begun in 1833; completed in 1840 

































GASTON ON THE BENCH 


361 


and purest jurists that had adorned the bench; to succeed 
him as Chief Justice, the members of the court chose Judge 
Ruffin; and to fill the vacancy on the bench all eyes were 
turned to William Gaston,* who while he felt no scruples 
because lie was a Catholic, conferred with others before he 
concluded to allow his name to be used. 

On November 28, he was elected by the Assembly on the 
first ballot without serious opposition. He perhaps de¬ 
serves to rank as the first among the distinguished men born 
in the State. His manner, at that period, was grave, cour¬ 
teous and unostentatious. He was affable with dignity and 
companionable without familiarity. 

Among the earlier opinions he filed was that for the court 
in the case of State v. Will, a slave, who was convicted of 
murder for slaying his overseer. A special verdict had been 
found which showed great provocation and cruelty on the 
part of the overseer. Judge Gaston said: “In the absence 
then of all precedent directly in point, or strikingly anal¬ 
ogous, the question recurs, if the passion of the slave be 
excited into unlawful violence by the inhumanity of the 
master or temporary owner or one clothed with the owner’s 
authority, is it a conclusion of law that such passion must 
spring from diabolical malice? Unless I see my way clear 
as a sunbeam, I cannot believe that this is the law of a civ- Reports’ 121 
ilized people and of a Christian land. But the appeal here 
is to the common law which declares passion, not transcend¬ 
ing all reasonable limits, to be distinct from malice. The 
prisoner is a human being, degraded, indeed, by slavery, 
but yet having ‘organs, senses, affections, passions like our 
own.’ ” 

In the case of State v. Hoover the court sustained a ver¬ 
dict of murder against a master for killing a slave. In 
State v. Manuel Gaston said: “Slaves manumitted become 

*In 1829 Ruffin had been appointed to the court, and in 1832, J. J. Daniel. 

In August 1833, Chief Justice Henderson died and Gaston was, in Novem¬ 
ber, elected to the vacant place in the court. The practice was for the 
Justices to select their Chief Justice; so a question arose who should be the 
Chief Justice. When the court met in December, Ruffin insisted that 
Gaston should be, and Gaston insisted that Ruffin should be; and Daniel 
declared he would not choose between them. So Ruffin and Gaston tossed 
up a coin, and Gaston had his way: Ruffin became Chief Justice. So Judge 
Gaston wrote to Judge Story of Massachusetts. 




362 


SWAIN GOVERNOR 


freemen and, therefore, if born within North Carolina are 
citizens of North Carolina, and all free persons born within 
20 n. c. the State are born citizens of the State." These and simj- 

Reports, 44 j ar 0 pi n i 0 ns of the Supreme Court at once attest the sense 
of justice that animated its members, and are evidence of the 
humane sentiments that pervaded the people of the State. 
That it was not until 1834 that the question involved in 
Will’s case was presented to the court, illustrates the general 
management of the slaves, while the conviction of a master 
for murder in killing his slave is equally suggestive. While 
these decisions of the court were not questioned, being in 
accord with the enlightened sentiments of the people, yet it 
was fortunate that it fell to Judge Gaston’s lot to elucidate 
the principles on which they rested. Instead of his losing 
popularity, he became more popular than ever, and was 
later asked to represent the State in the United States Sen¬ 
ate, but he declined to allow his name to be brought for¬ 
ward, saying that he preferred to continue in a judicial 
career. ■' i 




CHAPTER XXIII 


The Convention 

Jackson forbids deposits in Bank of United States.—Panic en¬ 
sues.—The Senate censures the President.—Benton moves to ex¬ 
punge.—The people divide.—Mangum leaves Jackson.—Gales 
turns Whig; and retires.—Succeeded by Weston Gales.—Philo 
White publishes the Standard. —iStwain urges revision of Consti¬ 
tution, a division by Congress of public lands, and internal im¬ 
provement and schools, and to arrest emigration.—First move¬ 
ment for a railroad.—Whitfield to have steamboats on Neuse.— 
The Legislature instructs Senators to expunge.—A limited con¬ 
vention proposed for the people to call.—The west prevails.— 
The sectional vote.—The delegates.—Convention sits in the Pres¬ 
byterian Church.—Borough representation abolished.—Suffrage 
confined to whites.—Representation in the Assembly.—The de¬ 
bate.—The cause of emigration.—Gaston’s speech.—The final out¬ 
come.—The east loses 35 members.—Term of office fixed at two 
years.—The religious test.—Speeches of Gaston and Toomer.— 
The election of Governor.—Convention adjourns.—The- sectional 
vote on ratification.—Death of Polk, Ashe, Caldwell.—Swain 
president of University.—Taney, Chief Justice.—Spaight, Gov¬ 
ernor.—Governor Swain’s final message.—The amendments 
adopted.—Election of Governor provided for.—Railroad charters. 
—Steamboats for Pamlico River.—Gold mining companies.—The 
frost year. 

At Washington 

President Jackson thought that the Bank of the United 
States had sought to prevent his election, and that it was 
using its power in making loans to secure an extension of 
its charter. It had twenty-five branch banks throughout the 
states, and could exert a potent influence. Jackson took 
strong ground against the bank. In May, 1833, he a P" 
pointed R. B. Taney to be Secretary of the Treasury, the 
only officer who, under the law of Congress, could divert 
public moneys when collected from being deposited in the 
vaults of that bank. In September, Taney made an order 
that no more collections should be deposited in that bank. 
Immediately, the bank began to call in its loans, thus creat¬ 
ing a demand for currency, and this soon led to a panic. 


Deposits in 
Bank of 
U. S. for¬ 
bidden 


364 


THE CONVENTION 


1834 


The Senate 
censures 


Jackson 

men 

dominant 


Gales 

adverse 


The friends of the bank attributed the situation to the 
President. 

At the election a majority of the Representatives chosen 
were supporters of Jackson, but the Senate was of a differ¬ 
ent complexion. There the bank had the most friends. On 
March 28, 1834, after much discussion and agitation, the 
Senate adopted a resolution censuring the President for his 
action. It was a novel performance. Immediately, Sena¬ 
tor Benton offered a motion to expunge that resolution from 
the record of Senate proceedings; but the majority of the 
Senate were of a different mind. The matter remained 
open. The country took up the controversy, which entered 
into politics. The friends of Jackson demanded that the 
Senate should reverse itself. Senator Brown had stood by 
the President, but Mangum sustained the vote of censure. 
Elected as a supporter of Jackson, Mangum cast his for¬ 
tunes with the opposition, now beginning to be known as 
“Whigs.”- 

When- the Assembly met, the same officers were reelected. 
One of the first matters of interest was the election of a 
Senator to succeed Bedford Brown. On the proposition to 
go into the election, much opposition was manifested. In 
the House while 73 favored it, 54 were opposed; and so in 
the Senate the vote stood 33 to 28. Then filibustering set 
in, but the majority soon carried their point and on No¬ 
vember 20, Brown was reelected. The Jackson supporters 
were dominant. 

When the Governor was to be chosen, W. D. Moseley, the 
Speaker of the Senate, was brought forward against Gov¬ 
ernor Swain and at first there was no choice, but the next 
day, Swain was continued in office as Governor. 

Joseph Gales, who had been a leading Democrat for so 
many years, never was an adherent of Jackson, and now 
went with Mangum to the Whig opposition. However, 
he soon left the sanctum, his son, Weston R. Gales, taking 
his place as editor of the Register. But his influence con¬ 
tinued, for he had years before purchased an interest in the 
National Intelligencer at Washington, conducted by his 
son, Joseph, and his son-in-law, W. W. Seaton, which was 



IMPORTANT RECOMMENDATIONS 


365 


considered the most important of all the newspapers of the 
country. Mr. Gales, upon his retirement, resided in 
Washington. 

At this session, Philo White, a man of culture and at¬ 
tainments, who had for some years been a Democratic 
editor and was publishing the Standard at Raleigh, was 
elected public printer. 

Swain’s recommendations 

In his message Governor Swain said that the matter of 
first importance was to amend the State Constitution. It 
was first introduced in 1787 and for half a century has con¬ 
tinued to command public attention. He urged its revision. 
He advocated that the public domain should be divided out 
among the states by Congress, thus giving North Carolina 
a fund for the prosecution of internal improvements and for 
schools. He again adverted to the subject of emigration, 
saying: “The continually increasing current of emigration, 
which is depriving us of many of our most intelligent and 
enterprising citizens and a large portion of our wealth, 
particularly in the section of the State regarded as the most 
populous, imparts to this subject a powerful interest; and 
he urged action to overcome the disadvantages that beset 
the prosperity of the State. The Legislature having au¬ 
thorized the appointment of commissioners to revise the 
statutes, he had appointed William H. Battle, Gavin Hogg 
and James Iredell. In the Senate there was some response 
to the Governor’s recommendation for internal improve¬ 
ments and the first movement towards State aid for a rail¬ 
road was made on December 17, 1834. On motion of Mr. 
Montgomery of Orange, the committee on Internal Im¬ 
provements was directed to inquire into the expediency of 
building a railroad from the seaboard to Raleigh and thence 
to the Yadkin, the State to take two-fifths of the stock, but 
the Assembly was not ready for such expenditures. 

To promote water transportation, Needham Whitfield was 
vested with the exclusive right, for fifteen years, to navi¬ 
gate with steamboats the Neuse from New Bern up as far 


The 

Standard 


The 

Assembly 



366 


THE CONVENTION 


1834 


Mangum 

instructed 


as the boats could ascend. At that session, the Halifax and 
Weldon road not having been then begun, three more years 
were allowed for its construction. 

Governor Swain had ignored Federal matters, but the 
Jackson men were not so complacent. On November 28, 
Mr. Potts of Edgecombe introduced a resolution declar¬ 
ing the right of the Assembly to instruct Senators and in¬ 
structing Senator Mangum to vote to expunge from the 
record of the Senate the resolution censuring President 
Jackson which Mangum had voted for. For a week the 
resolution was not considered, and then for a week it was 
daily discussed, the opposition filibustering against it; but 
eventually on December 11, it passed the House by 69 to 57. 
Sent to the Senate, there was a protracted filibuster against 
the resolution. The Assembly had agreed to adjourn 
over on Christmas Day, but at fifteen minutes after 12:30 
a.m., December 25, the hundredth motion to adjourn was 
voted down, and the Senate continued in session. Then 
Senator Owen Holmes of New Hanover, a leader favoring 
the resolution, allowed an adjournment. Finally two days 
later, the Senate passed the resolution by 33 to 28. 


The Convention called 

Late in the session, December 27, when the members 
were thinking of final adjournment, Kittrell of Anson, to 
whose committee had been referred a bill for a convention, 
reported a substitute. The substitute was agreed to 68 to 
61. Then there were various amendments. As there was 
no provision in the Constitution for amending that instru¬ 
ment or for calling a convention, it was considered that 
only the people themselves could take legal action, so the 
question whether there should be a convention or not was 
first to be submitted to a popular vote. Then the character 
of the convention was considered, whether it was to be 
limited to amending certain specific articles, or could abro¬ 
gate the existing Constitution in whole. The bill was so 
cast as to confine the changes to particular subjects and 
articles. There was much diversity of opinion; but eventu¬ 
ally at a meeting of leaders in their rooms, the form and 




CONVENTION CALLED 


367 


scope of the bill was so adjusted that it would receive 
support from some of the eastern members. On December 
31, it passed the House by 66 to 62. In the Senate, it was 
amended, and passed January 3 by 31 to 30. 

On January 5, the House concurred in the Senate amend¬ 
ments, and at last the long waiting of the west was over. 
For fifty years there had been a desire and purpose to amend 
the Constitution, often strongly manifested, and now the 
victory was won, the way was clear. 

The Convention 

The act submitting the question of a convention to the 
people provided the machinery for taking the sense of the 
white voters on that question. The election was to be held 
at the usual voting precincts on the 1st and 2d days of 
April; the sheriffs were to make returns to the Governor, 
“who, if a majority of the votes favor a convention, shall 
issue a writ for holding an election for delegates. Every 
county to elect two delegates, and no more; delegates to 
convene in Raleigh on the first Thursday of June; the 
delegates to take an oath to observe the limitations speci¬ 
fied in the act.” 

At last the west had accomplished its purpose. The first 
step had been taken towards reforming the Constitution. 
Under existing conditions the eastern counties with a 
minority of the population had a preponderance in the As¬ 
sembly, the State being a sort of a confederation of coun¬ 
ties, each with equal representation: and the system was a 
representative republic, all the chief offices being elected 
by the Assembly. Now it was proposed to give more voice 
to the popular will and to base representation on population. 

The vote cast was 49,244, of which 27,550 were for the 
convention and 21,695 were against it. And, as illustrating 
how closely political action is allied with local interest, the 
east was so solidly against the measure and the west so 
solidly for it that in some of the eastern counties only four 
or five voted for it, and in some of the western counties 
only one or two votes were given against it. By the census 
of 1830, there was in the State 97,633 white males twenty 


1885 


Sectional 

vote 




368 


THE CONVENTION 


1835 


Convention 

debates 


The organ¬ 
ization 


years of age and upwards; and this vote also indicates that 
on grave constitutional questions popular interest is so lack¬ 
ing that one-half of the voters took no part in the elections. 
Yet that was the largest vote ever cast in the State except in 
the hotly contested presidential election of 1828, when the 
aggregate vote was 51,776. 

When the election for delegates was held many of the 
best men in the State were chosen. Among them were Nat 
Macon and Weldon N. Edwards, sent by Warren, William 
Gaston and Richard D. Spaight from Craven; David Out¬ 
law from Bertie, Governor John Owen, Bladen; Dr. Fred¬ 
erick J. Hill, Brunswick; Judge Toomer, Cumberland; 
Louis D. Wilson, Edgecombe; Jesse Spaight, Greene; 
Governor John Branch, Halifax; Kenneth Rayner, Hert¬ 
ford ; Asa Biggs, Martin; Alfred Dockery, Richmond; 
William B. Meares, Sampson; Joseph J. Daniel, Halifax; 
Riddick Gatling, Gates; and Owen Holmes of New Hano¬ 
ver, Governor Swain, Buncombe; M. Barringer, Cabar¬ 
rus ; Calvin Graves, Caswell; Hugh McQueen, Chatham, 
John M. Morehead, Guilford; Bartlett Shipp, Lincoln; Ed¬ 
ward T. Broadnax, Rockingham, Charles Fisher, Rowan; 
Jos. McD. Carson, Rutherford; Meshack Franklin, Surry; 
Henry Seawell, Wake, Edmund Jones and James Well¬ 
born from Wilkes. 

The delegates assembled on June 4 in a room in the Gov¬ 
ernor’s mansion, but before the day was over a committee 
of which Governor Swain was chairman, was appointed to 
find a more convenient place of meeting. 

The next day the Governor reported that the officers of 
the Methodist and Presbyterian churches had both tendered 
the use of their buildings. It was resolved to accept the 
offer of the Presbyterians; and the next morning the con¬ 
vention met in the Presbyterian Church. The members 
having been sworn in, the venerable Nathaniel Macon was 
unanimously chosen to preside, and Edmund B. Freeman 
was elected clerk. 

Judge Gaston from the committee appointed to report on 
taking up the business of the convention, reported that 





BOROUGH REPRESENTATION 


369 


nineteen committees should be appointed, each to consider 
some separate business. 

There was diversity of opinion on every material matter. 
Among - the first questions determined was as to the abolish¬ 
ment of borough representation. It was generally admitted 
that there was no reason for retaining it except as to the 
commercial towns, New Bern, Edenton, Wilmington and 
Fayetteville. Governor Swain urged that the convention 
was due to the votes of these towns in the Assembly, and 
he appealed for the retention of the borough system. After 
full debate, eventually, the vote against any exception was 
103 to 23. 

The most interesting question was as to depriving free 
negroes of the right of suffrage. The debate on this ex¬ 
plored the whole subject of the condition of the African 
race in the South. It was said that not only had free 
negroes never voted before the Revolutionary War, but 
that for years afterwards they did not vote: that they were 
not citizens. The convention seemed to be about evenly 
divided in opinion. John M. Morehead offered an amend¬ 
ment allowing those negroes to vote who possessed a free¬ 
hold of one hundred dollars; but the convention rejected 
this by a vote of 63 to 62; and then by a vote of 66 to 61, 
it abrogated in toto the right of free colored persons to vote. 
Suffrage was to be confined to the whites. 

When the subject of fixing the number of members of 
the different houses was reached, much feeling was evoked. 
Originally this, as all the other subjects, had been referred 
to a committee of thirteen; but later its membership was 
increased to twenty-six. Governor Swain, chairman of the 
committee, reported that the Senate should be composed of 
50 members and the House of 120, the greatest numbers 
specified in the act providing for the convention. The limits 
imposed by the Legislature, being the compromise reached 
leading to the passage of the act, were for the Senate not 
less than 34 nor more than 50, and for the House not less 
than 90 nor more than 120; and it was generally considered 
that the convention should regard the proportion between 
these suggested numbers; and that in awarding member- 
24 * 


The 

boroughs 


Free 

negroes 


Represen¬ 

tation 




370 


THE CONVENTION 


Wellborn 


Macon 


Spaight 


ship to the senatorial districts regard should be given to 
property; and that representation in the House should be 
according to the Federal population, counting negroes at 
three-fifths. The committee of 26 reported in favor of the 
greatest number in each house; but there was great diver¬ 
sity of opinion as to the basic number. There was also 
great controversy over the incidental question as to whether 
borough representation should be retained. 

The compromise made in the Assembly by which the act 
providing for the convention was passed was strongly urged 
by those who wanted no radical change. Wellborn from 
Wilkes said fifty years earlier he had brought the subject 
of a reform of the Constitution before the Legislature and 
it had been constantly agitated ever since. “We have asked 
them for appropriations to make highways and railroads and 
what has been their answer ? They said nature had sup¬ 
plied us (them) with the means of reaching a good market, 
and we will not be taxed for your benefit. If the west had 
been in power the Central Railroad from Beaufort to the 
mountains would have long since been completed. The 
Cape Fear and Yadkin would have been united; a vigorous 
system of internal improvement would have been carried 
into successful operation. . . . No wonder when a 

North Carolinian goes from home he is ashamed to own 
the place of his nativity.” 

Macon said he “disapproved of any plan of internal im¬ 
provements in which the government was to take a part. 
All improvements of this kind ought to be the work of in¬ 
dividuals.” 

Spaight replying to Wellborn asked: “In what respect 
had the State been degraded? He had always felt proud 
of being a North Carolinian. Look at our judiciary, our 
laws, at our University which stands on a footing equal to 
any other institution in our sister states. As to the great 
emigrations, they are equally as great for South Carolina. 
The cause was the sales of our public lands; make all the 
internal improvements you choose, it will have no effect on 
emigration while the land sales continue.” 



LOSS BY EMIGRATION 


37i 


Wilson of Perquimans in the course of a very lengthy 
address said that it was erroneous to think of North Caro¬ 
lina as degraded. He had been through Virginia, and if 
“that State were in a more thriving condition than North 
Carolina the evidences of it are not to be discovered. Take 
the whole State, and the superiority is ours. The gentleman 
for Wilkes thinks if a railroad were constructed to the west 
the mountains would be converted into rich fields and 
blooming gardens. He would be sorely disappointed; nine- 
tenths of their land is exhausted and not worth cultivating, 
contrasted with thousands of acres annually brought into 
the market in the southwestern states. Gain is the principle 
that prompts men to action; and as long as the western 
lands are kept in the market it is impossible to check the 
tide of emigration.” 

Spaight of Greene, in an elaborate speech, made similar 
and even stronger statements. “South Carolina lost by 
emigration even more than North Carolina.” 

Gaston, in the course of a great adress, said: “An 
omission to settle this question (of representation) now, in 
such a manner as to tranquilize the public mind,” he should 
regard as no ordinary calamity. He did not, however, 
“anticipate, in that event, the result predicted by the gentle¬ 
man from Buncombe (Governor Swain). That gentleman 
in earnest language had predicted that if a satisfactory ar¬ 
rangement were not now made, the people of the west would 
rise like the strong man, in his unshorn might, and pull 
down the entire political edifice. Sir, the strong man of Zorah, 
bowing down with all his might, tugged at massy pillars 
till he buried all beneath one hideous ruin. It was a glorious 
deed. Should our friends in the west in a moment of pas¬ 
sion overthrow the existing Constitution, the mad triumph 
will be a triumph over order and law, over themselves, their 
friends, their country. 

“There was much in North Carolina to respect and love. 
In no land was justice administered with greater purity, 
and in no state in the Union was there less of violence, and 
malevolence and corruption of faction. But much, very 
much could be done for the improvement of her physical 


Wilson 


Emigration 


Gaston 


Samson 

feat 


Conditions 



372 


THE CONVENTION 


1835 


Convention 
debates, 120 


Represen 

tation 


Term of 
office 


Religious 

test 


condition.” He hailed with delight the institutions spring¬ 
ing up in various parts of the country for the instruction 
of youth; but there was need for united efforts to accom¬ 
plish the intellectual and moral advancement of the State. 
He closed with an earnest appeal for the education of the 
poor and humble. 

Spaight said: “What had principally prevented internal 
improvements from being successful is, we have constantly 
attempted to do too much. In the Legislature there was 
not only an eastern and western interest, but there was a 
Roanoke, a Cape Fear and a Neuse interest; and the result 
had been to prevent anything being effectually done.” 

After much hot debate, the membership in the Senate 
was fixed at fifty, and then followed for several days a con¬ 
test over that for the House; but again the committee was 
sustained by a vote of 76 to 52. 

Later, when the subject of apportioning the membership 
was reached, borough representation was negatived; and a 
particular proposition to give borough representation to 
New Bern, Wilmington and Fayetteville was rejected by 
74 noes to 47 ayes. 

The convention now threw the counties into fifty districts, 
each entitled to elect a Senator, two of the small counties 
being embraced in a district, which deprived the east of 
ten Senators. 

Lincoln and Orange were allowed four members: of 
twelve counties awarded three members only one, Halifax, 
was in the east; of the twenty-six counties with a single 
member, six were of the west and twenty of the east; while 
by abolishing borough representation the east lost five. Al¬ 
together the east lost thirty-five members of the Assembly. 
The term of office of the Governor, members of Assembly 
and State officers was fixed at two years, and there were to 
be biennial sessions of the Legislature. 

At length, on June 26, at the end of three weeks, the 
question of amending the 32b section applying a religious 
test for office came up. The debate on that subject was a 
most notable one. There were those who considered that 
the popular feeling against any modification of that section 



CHANGES IN THE CONSTITUTION 


373 


would endanger the acceptance of the other changes in 
the Constitution, but generally there prevailed a liberal 
spirit in regard to it. Judge Gaston, a Catholic, made one 
of his greatest addresses. He sought to show that the pro¬ 
hibition did not extend to a Catholic: and he said such was 
the opinion of the best legal advisers in and out of the State. 
That personally he would be indifferent, but as a citizen he 
hoped that the section would be modified. His speech for 
its fullness, learning and eloquence remains an honor to the 
State. 

Judge Toomer’s speech also was noteworthy. He de¬ 
clared that the prohibition of the sections had ever been a 
dead letter; that Caswell, the president of the convention 
that adopted it, had been considered a Catholic, his parents 
being Catholics; that neither Jew, nor atheist nor Catholic 
had ever been denied office because of the section. 

It was proposed to substitute the word “Christian” for 
“Protestant,” and eventually the motion was adopted by 74 
to 51. 

When the proposition to elect the Governor by the people 
every two years was reached, Gaston and some others stren¬ 
uously opposed it. The Governor had only administrative 
powers and duties; the change would introduce ferment 
and faction. No state was more free from such evils than 
North Carolina. In reply, Wellborn asked: “How was 
it that our State had been called ‘Poor old North Carolina’? 
It was because we had done nothing to improve our ad¬ 
vantages. We need great improvements, and the time is 
near at hand when we will make them.” The report of the 
committee was adopted by a vote of 74 to 44. Eventually, 
when all the proposed changes had been formulated, on the 
final question of submitting them to the people, the vote 
stood 81 to 20. 

Before adjournment Gaston offered a resolution tendering 
thanks and appreciation to the venerable President. Macon 
feelingly responded. At the close, he said: “While my 
life is spared, if any of you should pass through the county 
in which I live, I shall be glad to see you.” When the ap¬ 
plause had ceased Carson rose and mentioned that he was 


Toomer 


Convention 
Journal, 331 


Governor 
elected by 
people 



374 


THE CONVENTION 


1835 


University 

languishing 


about to leave North Carolina to reside in the west, and he 
would ever be happy to see any friend from North Carolina. 

The convention having completed its work on July n 
adjourned, and the proposed amendments being submitted 
to the people were ratified, the vote being 26,771 in favor 
and 21,606 against; a majority of 5,166. In Brunswick not 
a vote was cast for ratification; in Tyrrell 1 ; in Hyde 2; and 
so on. In Burke one vote was for rejection; in Ruther¬ 
ford 2; in Surry 4; in Haywood and Wilkes 8; and so on. 
But generally the east was more liberal than the west, and 
the western voters were more numerous than those of the 
east. 

Swain President of University 

On January 14, 1834, Col. William Polk, the surviving 
field officer of the N. C. Continentals, passed away. Be¬ 
cause of his shining virtues and sterling worth, his eminence 
in patriotic work and his charming personality, he was an 
ornament to society, respected and revered, and his loss was 
mourned throughout the State. 

A year later, in 1835, there died at Fayetteville, Samuel 
Ashe of New Hanover, doubtless the last surviving officer 
of our Continentals. Of him George Davis, in his Uni¬ 
versity address twenty years later, said in an eloquent and 
striking eulogy: “He was the last of all the Romans.” 

On the 27th of January, 1835, Dr. Caldwell, the president 
of the University, died. He had been at its head for nearly 
forty years. He was one of the best scholars and teachers 
in the State. He had seen the number of matriculates rise 
to 173 in 1823, but then from various causes it had fallen 
to 100. The University was languishing. 

On Dr. Caldwell’s death, Dr. Mitchell acted temporarily 
as president. On the 20th of June, twenty-nine trustees 
met and sought to secure a president. Governor Swain’s 
term of office was expiring, and he desired the position. 
Judge Cameron approved, and the trustees generally agreed. 
He had many of the desired qualifications although he was 
lacking in fine scholarship. He entered at once on his 
duties and made a most successful president of the Uni- 



SPAIGHT ELECTED GOVERNOR 


375 


versity. There were only 89 matriculates in 1835 ; in 1837, 
142; and 1838, 164; and still year by year the number 
increased. 

Just as the convention adjourned, Chief Justice Marshall, 
who had held the circuit court at Raleigh for a generation, 
and was so highly esteemed that his presence was always a 
beneficial influence, died at Philadelphia. Many of the pub¬ 
lic men of the State hoped that Gaston would be appointed 
by the President as his successor, but the Attorney-General, 
Taney, was selected. 

The last Assembly under old system 

When the Assembly met, Moseley was reelected Speaker 
of the Senate, and W. H. Haywood was taken in the House. 

The returns of the voting on the amendments to the Con¬ 
stitution had not been officially compiled, but doubtless it 
was known that they had been adopted and that this would 
• be the last Assembly under the old system. The Democrats 
having a majority, Richard D. Spaight was elected Gov¬ 
ernor over his opponent, the great Cape Fear lawyer, Wil¬ 
liam B. Meares. 

Governor Swain’s final message was full on the ordinary 
topics that engaged attention. Particularly he inveighed 
against the propaganda of the abolitionists, deplored the 
continued exodus and urged local improvements. He said: 
“In much the larger portion of the State the past year has 
been a season of more than ordinary prosperity. The pro¬ 
duction of articles necessary- for the sustenance of human 
life has been abundant and our great agricultural staple 
has commanded a higher price than has been known in 
many years. Our citizens always distinguished for pru¬ 
dence and economy are at present probably less involved in 
pecuniary difficulties than at any previous time of our 
history.” However, “the tide of emigration,” said the Gov¬ 
ernor, “continues to flow in a copious and steady current 
to the new states and territories.” And he adverted to the 
absence of educational facilities and of internal improve- 


Death of 
Marshall 




376 


THE CONVENTION 


The day of 
the change 


Elections 
provided for 


Railroads 


ments as causes swelling the emigration and giving other 
states advantages of North Carolina. 

On December 4, the Governor transmitted the result of 
the voting on the amendments showing their adoption; and 
made his proclamation that the changes in the Constitution 
would be in effect on January 1, 1836. Governor Swain, 
still a young man, had the satisfaction of feeling that he 
had borne a chief part in bringing about these changes in 
the Constitution of the State which the western people had 
so much at heart as possibly leading to the material ad¬ 
vantage of that section of the State. He had exhibited 
a capacity for securing results that singled him out as one 
of the most influential men of his generation. 

Under the changed Constitution, the Legislature now had 
to provide for the election of a Governor and of Assembly- 
men. The sheriffs were directed to open the polls in their 
several precincts for the election, on the same day in 1836, 
as for the Assembly theretofore, and biennially thereafter; 
and make their returns for Governor to the Secretary of 
State who was to deliver them to the Speaker of the Senate. 

The Legislature incorporated the Raleigh and Gaston 
Railroad Company, but did not subscribe for stock. It 
also incorporated the Raleigh and Fayetteville Railroad, and 
a road from Milton to Salisbury. The charter of the Wil¬ 
mington and Raleigh Company was amended to allow that 
company to construct its road to meet the Petersburg and 
Portsmouth roads at Roanoke River. 

South Carolina and other states had chartered the Cin¬ 
cinnati and Charleston Railroad Company, and the Assem¬ 
bly passed an act of similar effect. 

William Tannahill and Bryan Saunders were vested with 
the privilege of running steamboats on the Pamlico and 
Tar rivers for eighteen years. The Wilmington Marine 
Hospital was incorporated. Eight academies were incor¬ 
porated including the Episcopal School at Raleigh, and 
nine gold mining companies were chartered. 

The Assembly also adopted strong resolutions on the 
subject of the Abolitionists, whose activities knew no 




COLD SUMMER 


377 


bounds and whose object was to excite the negroes to in¬ 
surrection and massacre. 

The frost year 

Notwithstanding the happy picture of conditions drawn 
by the Governor it has been understood that the year 1835 
was distinguished for its numerous frosts in the central part 
of the State. A letter, written in June, 1835, by Wesley 
Heartsfield of Wake County to his brother, who had moved 
to Florida, says: “You requested me, in the first place, 
to write you how I come on in the married state—and that I 
will do with pleasure. I was married on the fifth of March, 
and I had a very cold time of it, for there was at that time 
three snows on the ground, one on the others; but I did not 
mind that; the company was very agreeable at both places. 
I have got a pretty, kind, decent, good-natured, obedient, 
smart, pious, loving wife, and, of course, we get along 
pretty well. The weather is cold enough this morning to 
sit by a fire, and on the twenty-third of May we had a little 
frost, but not to bite anything. 

“I saw Mr. Wiggins the other day and he wishes you to 
write him word whether or not you think he would be ben¬ 
efited in selling off and coming to that country. 

“We have hard times here and worse are coming. Every¬ 
thing sells high. Corn sells at $4.50 and $5.00 per barrel. 
Fodder and oats, $1.50 per hundred. Negroes are very 
high indeed.” 

A letter of 1923 from the Assistant Attorney-General, 
Frank Nash, says: “There was an old man, and a very ex¬ 
cellent man, who lived in Orange County, named Holden. 
He died some ten or twelve years ago upwards of ninety 
years of age. When he was about sixty-five years of age 
a horse ran away with him, threw him out of his buggy and 
dislocated his neck, but as above said, he lived to be over 
ninety years of age. At the time I saw him, his mind was 
entirely clear and he told me that he recalled distinctly the 
famous year in which crops were destroyed by excessive 
cold. He said that he had a field of wheat just in bloom 
when a freeze came the latter part of May and blasted it 


1835 


The women 

t 



378 


THE CONVENTION 


as though hot water had been poured upon it. His recol¬ 
lection was that the year was 1835. 

“Dr. William Strudwick told me that his father told him 
that there was only one month in that year in which there 
was no frost and that was July. According to these ac¬ 
counts, the only crops raised that year were Irish potatoes 
and corn, and the corn crop was very short.” 

The Raleigh Register of February 10, 1835, said: “Sun¬ 
day last is thought to be the coldest day ever felt in this 
latitude. At six o’clock in the morning, February 8, the 
thermometer was one degree below zero. ... At Fay¬ 
etteville it was two degrees below.” 

In its issue of August 23, 1830, the Register said: “The 
weather destroyed or greatly damaged the crops, which 
were burned up by heat and drought.” Such disasters to 
crops were elements in the movement to other localities. 



CHAPTER XXIV 


Railroad Beginnings 

General conditions.—Great land sales.—The public debt ex¬ 
tinguished.—Distribution of surplus among the states.—Van Bu- 
ren and Hugh White nominated.—Dudley for Governor by the 
Whigs.—The Raleigh and Gaston road.—The Wilmington road 
goes to Weldon.—Dudley President.—Democrats nominate 
Spaight.—Van Buren elected.—The Assembly against Mangum. 
—Strange chosen.—Nash, Pearson and other new judges.—The 
west jubilant.—Spaight’s message.—Stocks made personal prop¬ 
erty.—Surplus fund for schools.—Committee recommends invest¬ 
ing in railroad and bank stock.—Morehead opposed to Wilming¬ 
ton and Weldon road.—The fund invested.—County of Davie.— 
Cherokee lands open for entry.—Lake Mattamuskeet to be drain¬ 
ed.—The Halifax road to be absorbed by the Wilmington.—The 
Cape Fear and Yadkin to be extended.—Caldwell’s project.—New 
projects.—The cotton manufacturing companies at Fayetteville, 
Rocky Mount, Lexington, Yadkin, Randolph, Weldon, Cane 
Creek, Milton, Salem.—Other incorporations.—Davidson College, 
Wake Forest.—The silk craze.—The arsenals.—Chang-Eng.—The 
financial crash.—Progress of railroad construction.—Conflicting 
interests.—Wilmington seeks the trade of Greensboro.—Dudley 
reelected.—His pronounced views.—To send our products 
through our own ports.—The Internal Improvement Committee. 
—Laid on table.—Aid given to roads.—Nags Head Inlet.—Com¬ 
mon schools established.—The expunging resolution.—The 
Whigs avoid instructing.—The Senators do not at once resign. 

General conditions 

Jackson’s last year in the presidency had been full of 
serious questions. In 1833, he had directed that no more 
public moneys should be deposited in the United States 
Bank, and thereafter they were deposited in State banks. 

About that time an era of inflation and speculation set in. 
The purchase of government lands largely exceeded all ex¬ 
pectations. Funds came in so rapidly that by January, 
1836, the public debt was entirely extinguished and $25,- 
000,000 had accumulated as a surplus. By June the sur¬ 
plus reached $40,000,000. 

The great deposits in the State banks led to wild specula¬ 
tion, and as a remedy, Congress in June, 1836, passed an 
act to distribute the unnecessary surplus among the states, 
in four quarterly installments, beginning January 1, 1837. 


1836 


Surplus 
to be 

distributed 


380 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


The Whigs 
organize 


And to check the purchases, the President in July, directed 
that payment for land, except in the case of actual settlers, 
should be made in specie. 

In May 1835, the supporters of the President held a con¬ 
vention in Baltimore and unanimously nominated Van Buren, 
who was the Vice President, to succeed Jackson. For some 
reasons Van Buren was not acceptable to all the former sup¬ 
porters of Jackson, while there was very strong opposition 
to him by the Whigs. Although his nomination consoli¬ 
dated the Democrats of the North, it stimulated the Whigs 
in the opposition. 

When the Legislature adjourned, the Whig members had 
a meeting and organized their party by appointing commit¬ 
tees in every county. A month later, the Raleigh Whigs 
put up for President, Hugh L. White, a native of Iredell 
County, who had had a highly honorable career in Tennes¬ 
see and in the Senate; and for Governor, they selected 
Edward B. Dudley of New Hanover, who was well known 
as one of the champions of internal improvements. 

The railroads 

There had been a road chartered to run from Raleigh 
to the Roanoke River, known as the Raleigh and Gaston. 
The promoters of this route met at Raleigh on January 2 
and large subscriptions being made, the company was or¬ 
ganized on February 4, the Whigs taking the lead; and 
actual construction began in June. There was likewise a 
proposition to build a road from Raleigh to Fayetteville, 
and perhaps this may have determined Raleigh not to sub¬ 
scribe for the line to Wilmington. At any rate, the in¬ 
corporators of the Wilmington and Raleigh road meeting 
with no substantial aid from Raleigh and having obtained an 
amendment to their charter allowing the road to be built 
to the Roanoke, now considered changing this route to 
Weldon. On March 14, the company organized at Wil¬ 
mington, determined to go to Weldon, and elected Edward 
B. Dudley president. Mr. Dudley was originally of On¬ 
slow County, but having come to Wilmington as a soldier 
during the war of 1812, he remained there. His subscrip- 



POLITICAL ISSUES 


38i 


tion to the railroad was $25,000 and that of Wilmington was 1836 
correspondingly large. The Whigs had taken the initia¬ 
tive in these enterprises and they stood before the people 
as the particular friends of internal improvements. 

Meetings in the counties brought forward, naturally, 
Governor Spaight as the Democratic candidate for Gov¬ 
ernor, and soon the Standard put up his name at the head 
of its column. Similarly, Whig meetings brought out ^ fi 
Edward B. Dudley and these became the contestants for contest 
Governor at the first election by the voters of the State. 

Great interest was aroused; and while the main issues dis¬ 
cussed were those growing out of Federal politics, yet Dud¬ 
ley representing active exertions in the cause of internal 
improvements, offered some hope for the future. Such 
were the conditions when the election came off in August, 

1836. 

The campaign turned largely on Jackson’s course in re¬ 
gard to the United States Bank and on the right of the As¬ 
sembly to instruct Senators. And as Mangum had appealed 
to the people against the Assembly, an issue was made that 
involved him particularly, and he had many friends, but 
he had taken a stand against the Jackson administration, and 
Jackson was near to the popular heart. The result of the 
changes in the Constitution had been very distasteful to 
the east, where apparently much bad blood was engendered; 
while at the west the reverse was evident. There many 
counties that had before only two representatives now had 
three, and the privilege of voting for the Governor imparted 
a zeal before unknown. The scepter had. departed from 
Israel; the course of empire was to the west. Although the 
Democrats stood faithfully to Spaight, yet Dudley was the 
favorite, and in the fullest vote cast, 63,948, won over House 
nis competitor, bor some reasons, the votes of three coun¬ 
ties were not embraced in the official returns. Dudley’s 
majority was 4,043. 

After his election, Dudley resigned as president of the 
railroad, and was succeeded by General James Owen, a 
brother of Governor Owen, under whose management the 
road was constructed and operated for four years. 



382 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


Van Buren elected 

In the presidential election the opposition to Jackson 
was not united, the Whigs not being yet thoroughly or¬ 
ganized. Clay seeing he stood no chance of an election 
would not be a candidate. General Harrison received the 
chief Whig support, but Webster was voted for as well 
as White. In North Carolina the Democrats put every 
should^* to the wheel. Even Macon, who had sought re¬ 
tirement, allowed his name to head the electoral ticket. His 
influence was still great. He and the other Van Buren 
electors were chosen. But it was his last, expiring effort 
for his party. Seven months after his attendance on the 
electoral college, June 29, 1837, he passed away, sincerely 
lamented by the people of the State. Van Buren carried 
15 states, with 170 electoral votes; Harrison 7 states with 
73 electoral votes; White, Georgia and Tennessee; Massa¬ 
chusetts voted for Webster. Later, when the South Caro¬ 
lina Legislature met, Calhoun gave that State to his friend 
Mangum. 


1836 


Journals, 
40 , 294 


Strange 

Senator 


The Assembly 

In the Legislature the parties were about evenly divided. 
When it met, Hugh Waddell of Orange was chosen Speaker 
of the Senate over Moseley, the former Democratic Speaker, 
by two votes, there being one member absent and one va¬ 
cancy. In the House, William H. Haywood, brother-in-law 
of Dudley, was successful over William A. Graham by 
seven votes, there being seven seats vacant. 

Mangum now considered that he had lost in his contest at 
the polls. He realized that the Assembly was adverse to his 
position and he tendered his resignation. On December 3, 
the election of his successor came on, the nominees being 
Robert Strange and Thomas Settle. In the Senate the vote 
was Strange 24, Settle 25, in the House, Strange 61, Settle 
58. On joint ballot, with one absent from each House, 
the Democrats had a majority of two votes. Three weeks 
later an election came off for the full term and Strange was 
chosen, receiving seven majority in the House. Robert 



NEW CONDITIONS 


383 


Strange was a native of Virginia, who had early in life 
come to this State, and was associated with the most ac¬ 
complished of our public men. Of Judge Strange, it has 
been said: “As a writer, his style is highly imaginative; 
his taste, chastened by an intimate acquaintance with the 
most approved authors in every age, is classic and beautiful. 
His eulogy upon Judge Gaston cannot but affect the heart, 
improve the feelings and delight the mind of all who may 
have the pleasure of reading it.” He once ventured into 
the realm of fiction and wrote a novel. As a jurist, he ranked 
among the most eminent men in the State. At that session 
to fill vacancies on the Superior Court bench, Judges Nash, 
Pearson, Bailey and Toomer were elected. After ten years, 
Judge Nash had returned to the bench and Richmond Pear¬ 
son now began his judicial career, both being destined to win 
high honor and to wear the robes of the Chief Justice. 
Owen Holmes of Wilmington was likewise elected a judge, 
but on notification he declined. 

The new conditions 

The western members and those who had favored the 
change in the Constitution were now in high elation. The 
past was behind them, the future offered hope and the rain¬ 
bow of promise was in the heavens. And coincident was 
the fortuitous distribution of the surplus revenue. Not 
only was the power to proceed in their hands but the in¬ 
strumentality was provided. The line between old things 
and new things was sharply drawn, and the Governor 
elected by the people was a progressive. 

Governor Spaight, accepting his defeat with equanimity, 
opened his message with a reference to the unexampled 
prosperity of the country and to the termination of the dis¬ 
turbing questions that “have made us a divided people.” 
He hoped that “all differences, antipathies and dislikes, if 
not hatreds, arising from the agitation would now termi¬ 
nate although we could not expect ‘that hatred or dislike 
could immediately be succeeded by love and affection.’ ” 

He mentioned the act of Congress requiring the public 
funds to be deposited with the states, saying: “The faith 


Wheeler, 

130 


Judicial 

changes 



384 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


House 

Journal, 


1836 


of the State is pledged for its return. ... If you re¬ 
ceive it, it should be so invested as to be returned on de¬ 
mand.” He submitted communications from Maine, Massa¬ 
chusetts, Connecticut, New York and Ohio and six other 
states on the subject of “Incendiary publications, abolition 
and slavery.” 

Now the prospects of having a fund that might be in¬ 
vested in improvements and in the advancement of educa¬ 
tion awoke the liveliest interest. A select committee of 
five from each house was provided for. Mr. Jordan on 
December 3 reported a bill from the committee for acepting 
the deposit which was unanimously passed. Another was 
passed to make stock in incorporated companies personal 
property; for stock in railroad companies had been consid¬ 
ered as savoring of the realty. 

The Senate having concurred in accepting the offered 
deposit, a committee of one from each congressional dis¬ 
trict on the part of each house was raised to recommend 
the disposition of it. This important committee consisted 
321 of Senators Polk, Hawkins, Morehead, Kelly, Davidson, 
Hussey, Spruill, Skinner, Whitaker, Rhinehardt, Carson 
and J. W. Bryan. The House branch was Raynes, Moore, 
Smallwood, Hooker, Sloan, Fisher, Blount D. Jordan, Gra¬ 
ham, Lee, Cansler, Patton and Courts. 

The new fund 

William A. Graham for the committee made the report 
that the State debt of $400,000 be purchased; that the bank 
stock and $187,800 of cash to be invested in bank stock, all 
amounting to $1,000,000 shall belong to the Literary Fund; 
that $200,000 be expended in draining the swamp lands; that 
the State should subscribe for two-fifths of the capital 
stock of the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad and of the 
Fayetteville and Western Railroad; that the profits should 
go to the public schools. 

An amendment was proposed to subscribe $200,000 to the 
Raleigh and Gaston Railroad but was voted down 27 to 66, 
and an amendment prepared to subscribe to the Central 
Railroad was at first likewise voted down, but when the 



VAVIE COUNTY ESTABLISHED 


3§S 


committee prepared a bill to give effect to the resolution, 
they included among the railroad beneficiaries the Central 
road, and in a motion to strike that out, the vote was 19 
to 74. The bill passed 61 to 42 nays. 

In the Senate, Mr. Reid moved to amend the bill by sub- 
scribing two-fifths of the stock of the Milton and Salisbury 
Railroad, but this failed by 6 to 33. Mr. Morehead, evi¬ 
dently much dissatisfied, then moved to strike out the Wil¬ 
mington and Weldon Railroad, the vote being 11 to 28. 
Failing in that, he moved to postpone the bill indefinitely, 
but he again lost the vote by 13 to 26. On the final passage, 
the vote was 26 to 13, Morehead and a dozen others oppos¬ 
ing it. 

Eventually the “surplus revenue” was apportioned as fol¬ 
lows : After paying $300,000 on the State debt and the 
same amount for stock in the Bank of Cape Fear, and for 
draining the swamp lands, the Board of Internal Improve¬ 
ments was to subscribe for two-fifths of the stock of the 
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad when three-fifths had 
been subscribed and paid in by individuals. And in like 
manner two-fifths of the stock of the Fayetteville road 
running to the narrows of the Yadkin, and likewise two- 
fifths of the capital stock of the N. C. R. Central from 
Beaufort to Fayetteville, when the other three-fifths had 
been paid in by individuals. But no aid was offered to 
the road projected from Raleigh to the Roanoke. Among the 
acts passed were those extending the charter of the Cape 
Fear Bank to i860 and conferring banking privileges on the 
Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Railroad Company. 

The people of the west now had the satisfaction of es¬ 
tablishing a new county, called Davie. Population was 
thickening in the mountain section, so all the lands bought 
from the Cherokees in 1818-19 were now opened to entry, 
except such tracts as were awarded to the Indians as a 
reservation. The swamp lands were to be drained and also 
Lake Mattamuskeet. 

All of the profits accruing to the State from the invest¬ 
ments were vested in the board of the Literary Fund. And 

so it came about that through the sales of the public lands 
25 


1836 


Morehead’s 

dissatisfac¬ 

tion 


The 

distribution 


Davie 

County 


Cherokee 

lands 

opened 



3 86 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


Acts 

1836-37, 

p. 126 


The Cape 
Fear and 
Yadkin 


donated to the Union by Virginia and North Carolina, and 
otherwise acquired, this State in 1837 was able to enter on 
enterprises of the greatest importance to its prosperity and 
to create a fund for the endowment of a public school sys¬ 
tem that promised a general diffusion of education and the 
elevation of the citizenship. 

Among other legislation were acts to incorporate the 
Raleigh and Columbia Railroad Company, from Raleigh 
to Rockingham and then to Columbia; and to allow the 
Halifax and Weldon Railroad to subscribe its stock to 
the Wilmington and Weldon Company. 

The Cape Fear and Yadkin Railroad Company had large 
views, and now was authorized to run one branch of its road 
from the narrows to Wilkesboro, and the lower branch to 
cross the Catawba and intersect the Charleston and Cincin¬ 
nati Railroad. The company was also granted the powers 
of the Cape Fear Navigation Company to clean out and 
navigate the Yadkin River. If the road from Beaufort 
should connect with this road, then preference in transpor¬ 
tation was to be given to that company. Caldwell’s pro¬ 
posed road was to turn to the west by way of Raleigh, the 
new project in contemplation was for the main line to go 
farther to the south through Fayetteville. But again the 
North Carolina Central Road was chartered from Beaufort 
through New Bern, Trenton and the central part of the 
State to the Tennessee line, or to go by Fayetteville and con¬ 
nect with the Fayetteville and Yadkin Railroad. A road 
from Edenton to Norfolk was likewise chartered, and the 
Raleigh and Columbia Road also. 


Manufactures 

Various manufacturing companies were incorporated. 
The Phoenix Company at Fayetteville, under the control 
of Charles P. Mallett and his associates; the Rocky Mount 
Manufacturing Company, the Battles being the incorpor¬ 
ators ; the Lexington Company under the Hargraves; the 
Yadkin Company under Charles Fisher and his associates; 
the Randolph Company under John B. Troy; the Weldon 
Company under Andrew Joyner and his associates, “Near 



COLLEGES CREATED 


387 


Weldon on the Roanoke Canal”; all of these to manufac¬ 
ture textile fabrics and the High Shoals Company to manu¬ 
facture iron, under Henry Fulenwider. The Cane Creek 
Cotton Manufacturing Company; the Milton Manufactur¬ 
ing Company; the Salem Manufacturing Company, all 
making cotton goods. Then, there were the General Min¬ 
ing and Manufacturing Company; and the Mutual Insur¬ 
ance Company at Fayetteville; and the North Carolina 
Mutual Fire Insurance Company with its principal office 
at Elizabeth City. 

Several institutions of learning were incorporated, chiefly 
for the education of females; among them the Greensbor- 
ough Female College and the Caldwell Institute. The de¬ 
sire of the western counties to establish a western college 
of a high order of merit, had not been gratified. Every 
effort had proved unavailing. Now Davidson College was 
incorporated, the trustees to be selected by the Presbyte¬ 
rians of Concord, Morganton and Bethel and such other 
Presbyteries as should become associated with them in the 
undertaking. The Literary and Manual Labor Institution 
of Wake County was created a college, under the name of 
Wake Forest. 

Somewhat earlier the culture of silk had been agitated 
and the Morus Multicaulis, a species of mulberry, was in¬ 
troduced with a view to promoting the rearing of silk worms. 
That idea spread so rapidly that it was eventually known as 
the “Morus Multicaulis craze.” Evidently to aid this in¬ 
teresting enterprise, the Legislature passed an act to en¬ 
courage the culture and manufacture of silk and sugar, un¬ 
der which any six or more persons subscribing a capital of 
$2,000 could form themselves into a joint stock company for 
the growth or manufacture of silk or sugar. The conditions 
were favorable to the growth of the silk worms, but perhaps 
there was no sufficient market for the cocoons and while 
in the homes there was some silk made, the industry did 
not succeed. 

There were arsenals for the public arms at Fayetteville 
and Raleigh, and there were at least 5,000 muskets and 
1,750 rifles on hand. The rifles were directed to be stored 


1836-7 


Greensboro 

Female 

College 


Davidson 

College 


Wake Forest 


Silk 


Public arms 




388 


The arsenal 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


at Morganton and Salisbury for the western militia and the 
muskets at Fayetteville, Wilmington, Raleigh, New Bern 
and four other towns in the east; at the next session the 
Federal government was authorized to take possession of a 
tract of land in Fayetteville for a Federal arsenal, that be¬ 
ing the origin of the United States arsenal there. 

Chang-Eng, Siamese twins who had been touring the 
country on exhibition having settled near Salem, complained 
to the Legislature that the sheriffs were exacting money 
from them. Having married they had separate farms and 
residences for their respective families. 

At last, on January 23, the longest session of the Legisla¬ 
ture on record came to an end. As it was the beginning 
of the biennial sessions, the succeeding session would be 
in 1838. 

Tlie financial crash 

In May 1837, two months after Van Buren’s inauguration, 
the financial conditions resulted in a crash. The banks sus¬ 
pended specie payments. The government deposits being 
in State banks could not be transferred in ordinary course 
to the centers where they were needed for payment. Van 
Buren devised a new plan of Treasury finance, holding the 
funds in the Treasury vaults at Washington. For this 
there was no particular regulation prescribed by Congress 
but Van Buren persisted, and such was the origin of the 
present sub-treasury system. 

The panic had its effect in North Carolina as elsewhere, 
but there were no great disasters incident to it. 

The railroads 

In the meantime work was progressing satisfactorily on 
the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad and on the Wilmington 
and Weldon, which absorbed the little road from Halifax 
to Weldon, but the individual stockholders in neither of 
the other roads subscribed enough to obtain the State’s aid. 
In some measure local interests determined the attitude of 
localities toward the various projects. Fayetteville with 
its western trade and connections was anxious for the con- 



CONFLICTING INTERESTS 


389 


struction of the Yadkin road, usually called the Fayetteville 
and Western. Wilmington, the seaport of Fayetteville, was 
in favor of this projected line, but when it was proposed 
to make Beaufort the seaport of Fayetteville, Wilmington 
suggested a road from deep water in Bladen along the 
South Carolina line to the west, cutting out Fayetteville. 
These interests were not concerned with the connection 
from Raleigh to Gaston and Petersburg. 

When the Petersburg road approached the Roanoke, it 
proposed to have Blakely, above the rapids, on the northern 
side for its terminus. The road from Raleigh to connect 
with that line had for its original terminus a point above the 
rapids that was called “Gaston” in honor of Judge Gaston. 
The passengers and freight were transferred across the 
river over a bridge. The Portsmouth road had obtained a 
right to construct a bridge across the river at Weldon, and 
when that bridge was completed, trains starting at Halifax 
in December, 1837, ran through to Norfolk. While Wil¬ 
mington and Raleigh had their northern lines in progress 
and there seemed no hope for east and west lines, Morehead, 
the actual leader of the central west, wanted a road from 
Salisbury to Milton. Roads were proposed from New Bern 
to Waynesboro and from Raleigh to Waynesboro, but the 
country west of Raleigh was considered too rolling for 
a railway and a turnpike was proposed in that direction. 

Conflicting interests 

As the time for the election of a Governor approached, 
Dudley desired to retain the office. The Whigs generally 
approved, but the Guilford interests were not forward in 
his support. They were in favor of Morehead and the Mil- 
ton railroad. Dudley, however, became the Whig candi¬ 
date and Governor Branch, likewise an eastern man, was 
his Democratic opponent. The success of the Wilmington 
and Weldon due to its southern connection inspired the 
Raleigh interests connected with the Raleigh and Gaston 
to promote construction on the Raleigh and Columbia 
scheme, while the eastern counties sought an outlet for 
their own products. About that time some South Caro- 


December, 

1837 


Morehead’s 

road 


Dudley and 
Branch 



390 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


1838 


Wilmington 

seeks 

Greensboro 


Konkle: 
Morehead, 
186 


linian had applied the name “Rip Van Winkle" to North 
Carolina and it became a favorite in popular use. Wil¬ 
mington, however, was wide awake, and called attention 
to the fact that in six months she had dispatched 152 ves¬ 
sels to foreign ports and 150 coastwise, taking out a million 
dollars worth of exports; and confessedly in the interests 
of Wilmington and Fayetteville a proposition was made 
to hold “a commercial and agricultural convention” at 
Greensboro, with the expectation of promoting a line from 
Fayetteville westward that would connect Greensboro with 
Wilmington. On July 4, 1838, such a convention was held, 
Governor Dudley, a Wilmington man, presiding. More- 
head, a member of the convention, took no great part in 
the proceeding unless it was to stifle action, so that “the 
only specific measure decided on was a Raleigh Convention 
to be held early in December when the Legislature was in 
session.” Greensboro was more interested in a northern 
connection than in an eastern port. 


The election 

The result of the election for Governor could have been 
easily forecast. The tide was with the Progressives. Dud¬ 
ley held his own at the August election, and Branch fell 
behind Spaight some nine thousand votes. While the Cape 
Fear Democrats stood firm, the loss in the northeastern 
counties and from Granville west was notable. Dudley’s 
majority was 14,156. Although the Democrats virtually 
held their Congressional districts, they lost both houses of 
the Legislature. The Senate was at first, apparently, evenly 
divided; Lewis D. Wilson of Edgecombe and Andrew 
Joyner of Halifax, being the contestants for the speaker- 
ship at first tied, but Carson of Rutherford abandoned 
Wilson and gave Joyner the majority. In the House, Wil¬ 
liam A. Graham had 61 votes to 49 cast for Michael Hoke 
of Lincoln, a strong Democratic county. . 

Dudley’s message 

Governor Dudley had confidence in his convictions. In 
his message, he proposed that the State should unite all her 



HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION PROPOSED 


39i 


resources in one great State bank with a capital of ten mil¬ 
lions, absorbing all the then existing banks, and offering it 
as a depository for the Federal revenue. He suggested that 
this bank, if established, should subscribe half a million 
dollars to the Fayetteville and Western Railroad, a propo¬ 
sition that was not in line with the ideas prevailing in the 
section of which Guilford was the center. He adverted 
to the languishing state of agriculture and the want of at¬ 
tachment of families to their farms and homes, and as a 
remedy proposed a homestead exemption for each family, 
dependent on the size of the family. But after all, he de¬ 
clared that the permanent prosperity of the State depended 
on internal improvements, which alone could benefit the 
people and remove the existing temptation to emigrate. 
‘'Temptation is around them, the stimulants to emigration 
are almost irresistible.” 

The only road that had benefited by the Legislature al¬ 
lowing the State’s subscription was the Wilmington and 
Weldon. “Ninety miles of this road is now in use, and 
continued by stages and steamboats of the best description, 
carrying travelers from the Roanoke to Charleston, . . . 

and the road will be completed next year.” 

The required individual subscriptions not having been 
made to permit other companies to apply for the State’s 
subscription, he urged that the State should take even three- 
fourths of the stock of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Railroad 
as he considered that road of vital importance to the western 
counties. Indeed, he declared, if necessary he would have 
the State subscribe for all the stock to insure its being con¬ 
structed. South Carolina and Virginia were calculating on 
drawing all our trade to those states. He proposed a road 
from Bladen west to meet the South Carolina attempt, and 
to open the inlet at Nags Head to arrest the Virginia oper¬ 
ations. Some twelve hundred vessels, said he, “now cross 
the Ocracoke bar annually, and produce of the value of 
one million passes through the canal (to Norfolk) besides 
immense quantities in other directions to the Virginia 
markets.” Among his other suggestions was one of a road 
from Raleigh to New Bern. His general proposition was 


1838 


The 

W. & W. 
R. R. 


Commerce 
of the 
sounds 


House 

Journal, 293 




392 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


Internal Im¬ 
provements 
Convention 


to conserve State interests by sending out our products 
through our own ports. The bank panic, with its suspen¬ 
sion of specie payments and incidental business depression, 
had interfered with the construction of the two railroads 
then being built. Both now needed aid. 

When the Internal Improvement Convention met, “it 
compared favorably with that of 1833.” Judge Saunders 
presided. It memorialized the Legislature to carry out the 
program contained in the Governor’s message. Instead of 
a railroad to Greensboro it recommended a survey for a 
turnpike from Raleigh to Greensboro. To meet these ex¬ 
penditures it recommended that the State should borrow 
$3,000,000. All of these important matters were referred 
by the Assembly to the committee on internal improvements, 
which reported December 26: 

' 1. That the State should guarantee a loan of the Raleigh & Gas¬ 

ton Railroad on good security. 

2. That a subscription should be made of % of the stock of 
the Fayetteville and Yadkin road. 

3. That the 4th installment of the State’s subscription to the 
Wilmington & Weldon Railroad be immediately paid. 

4. That the State subscribe for % of the stock of the Roanoke 
Inlet Company. 

5. For the survey of a route of a McAdamized road from Raleigh 
to Greensboro. 

6. That the State borrow $2,600,000 for the above purposes. In 
another report the Committee recommended that a road be 
built from Beaufort to Waynesboro, the State taking % of the 
stock. 

This was the original movement for what afterwards took 
shape in the construction of A. & N. C. R. R. 

David Stone writing from Raleigh said: “The Governor 
in his message recommended four magnificent projects 
for Rip Van Winkle, but I apprehend his recommendations 
will hardly be met, as we are rather too sober and prudent 
a people to make high adventures. The States’ Rights men 
hold the balance of power, as neither of the old parties can 
make a majority without their aid. So far they have moved 
with the Whigs, and I suppose will continue to do so.” 
These were the men in sympathy with Calhoun and South 
Carolina, and out of line with the administration. On the 
subject of internal improvements, they justified Stone’s 
views of conservative action. On December 31, on motion 



NAGS HEAD AND OCRACOKE 


393 


of Hoke, the proposition to borrow $2,600,000 was stricken 
out in the House from the resolutions. Then the House 
struck out the clause authorizing a subscription of four- 
fifths of the stock of the Cape Fear and Yadkin Railroad, 
and refused by a vote of 53 to 56 to substitute a three- 
fourths subscription; that vote being the nearest approach 
to agreement. Thereupon on motion of Mr. Erwin of 
Burke, the entire report and resolutions were laid on the 
table. 

In the Senate, likewise, on motion of Mr. Dockery the 
entire set of resolutions was laid on the table. The Senate, 
however, passed a bill to aid the Raleigh and Gaston Rail¬ 
road by 30 to 18. When this bill came to the House it was 
at first laid on the table, but eventually passed 54 to 52. 
The Treasurer was to endorse the company’s bonds up to 
$500,000, taking a mortgage on the property as security. 

On a tie vote the bill to pay the subscription to the Wil¬ 
mington and Weldon passed the Senate; but in the House 
it was amended and it was not thereafter considered in the 
Senate. The Senate, however, on motion of Mr. More- 
head passed a resolution that the subscription should be 
paid only as the private subscriptions were paid. The State 
eventually agreed to take three-fifths of the stock in the 
Fayetteville and Western road. But still looking at our 
water transportation, the Assembly required the Board of 
Internal Improvements to have some engineer of distinction 
to report on the practicability and cost of opening a chan¬ 
nel between Albemarle Sound and the ocean at Nags Head. 
Our Senators and Representatives in Congress were re¬ 
quested to obtain an appropriation by Congress to open that 
inlet. There was at that time a fear that Ocracoke Inlet 
was closing. 

As the Raleigh and Gaston road connected with the Pe¬ 
tersburg road at Gaston, a charter was granted for the con¬ 
struction of a road under the name of the Weldon Railroad 
from Littleton or some other point on the Raleigh and Gas¬ 
ton to Weldon, to connect with the Portsmouth road. Res¬ 
olutions were passed looking to the establishment of a lu¬ 
natic asylum and also to the construction of a penitentiary. 


Senate 
Journal, 188 


Ibid., 220 


Nags Head 
Inlet 


The Weldon 
road 



394 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


1838-9 


House 
Journal, 296 


Ibid., 536 


The school 
bill 


Common schools established 

The Governor had mentioned that now the income of the 
Literary Fund would be from $120,000 to $150,000, suffi¬ 
cient to warrant establishing a public school system. One 
of the greatest drawbacks, said he, was the absence of 
teachers, so he urged the opening of a school for the train¬ 
ing of teachers, and also the employment of a permanent 
commissioner to superintend that branch of the service. 
No longer was there need to defer action, and the Assembly 
now responded to the Governor’s suggestion. By far the 
most important act of this session was the long-postponed 
Common School bill. 

On December 1, Senator James O. K. Williams of Beau¬ 
fort offered a resolution that the Committee on Education be 
directed to report a bill establishing free schools in every 
county, and the resolution passed unanimously. Senator 
William W. Cherry of Bertie was chairman of that com¬ 
mittee. On December 27 he reported the bill to the Senate 
and on January 2 it passed unanimously. In the House, 
the next day, Dr. Fred J. Hill, of Orton, Brunswick County, 
called it up and offered an amendment, providing for the 
election of a Superintendent of Public Instruction, “whose 
duty shall be to visit and examine the schools in every sec¬ 
tion of the State and confer with the school committees, 
modeling the school houses, seeing that the teachers are 
competent, select textbooks, require reports and collect gen¬ 
eral statistics and report to the General Assembly.” The 
Senate bill was taken up in the House January 5, all after 
the enacting clause was stricken out and another bill sub¬ 
stituted and the substitute passed. Two days later, the 
Senate refused to concur; the House would not recede. * A 
Committee of Conference was appointed. On the same day, 
Cherry from the Committee of Conference, reported a bill 
agreed upon by the committee, composed of Cherry, Shep¬ 
herd and Mosely, Senators, and Boyden, Hill and Gilliam 
of the House. The Senate passed it unanimously and thq 
House concurred. Its chief provisions were that at every 
election precinct, at the next election, polls were to be opened 
and all voters in favor of raising by taxation one dollar, 



PUBLIC SCHOOL SCHEME 


395 


for every two dollars to be furnished by the Literary Fund, 
was to vote for “Schools/’ those opposed “No schools.” 
In such counties as voted for the tax, the justices were to 
elect not more than ten superintendents of common schools. 
These superintendents were to divide their counties into 
school districts, not more than six miles square, and they 
were to appoint not more than six school committeemen in 
each district. Twenty dollars was to be collected by taxa¬ 
tion in each district, and the Literary Fund was to supply 
$40; and the schoolhouses were to accommodate at least 50 
children. At last the beginning was made, such as it was, 
for the education of all the white children of the State. 

There was much other business done. The largest cor¬ 
poration authorized was the Washington Mining Company, 
in the county of Davidson; Roswell King, John W. Thomas 
and their associates being the stockholders and the capital 
was fixed at half a million dollars. As the State House was 
now nearing completion an appropriation was made for the 
reconversion of the “Government House” into a residence 
of the Executive. 

The changes made in representation had not destroyed 
partisanship. In the Whig House there was a proposition 
made to establish a new county at the west to be called Jef¬ 
ferson. That name was objected to and as a substitute 
Blakely was proposed, but unavailingly. Then Madison 
was suggested, but the House rejected that also, the vote 
being 29 to 83. The bill eventually passed the House by 
eight majority, 61 to 53. It, however, failed in the Senate. 
The Senate could not stomach Jefferson. 

The persistence of Senator Benton had eventuated in the 
United States Senate reversing itself in its action censur¬ 
ing President Jackson and that body had, by a vote, ex¬ 
punged its former resolution. Rayner, an active partisan, 
sought with the aid of the Calhoun men to bring about the 
resignation of the two Democratic senators, Brown and 
Strange, who had voted for the expunging resolution, 
without, however, resorting to the Democratic doctrine of 
“instruction.” He offered resolutions declaring that the 
L T nited States Senate ought to again reverse itself and 


House 

Journal, 359 


Expunging 

resolution 


Rayner’s 

move 



396 


RAILROAD BEGINNINGS 


Position of 
the Senators 


“ought now to pass resolutions condemning that act and 
rescinding the expunging resolution/’ And further de¬ 
nouncing Jackson's administration, the last of his resolu¬ 
tions was: “Resolved that our Senators in Congress will 
represent the wishes of a majority of the people of this 
State by voting to carry out the foregoing resolutions.’’ 
When these resolutions came up in the House, a motion to 
postpone them was lost by 54 to 58. They were then daily 
considered for a week. On December 21, Hoke moved to 
amend them by adding: “Provided, we do not mean hereby 
to condemn the patriotic efforts of our late President against 
the United States Bank,” but this failed, yeas, 56 to 63 
nays. Another amendment offered was: “And our Sena¬ 
tors are hereby instructed so to do”; this also, was lost, 54 
to 64. The Whigs would not instruct. The resolution 
passed 63 to 56. In the Senate, the same proposed amend¬ 
ments were voted down, 23 to 25, and the resolutions were 
passed by the same vote. 

During these proceedings, Rayner, the author of the reso¬ 
lutions, on December 5, long before they were passed, 
wrote: “I believe it is now pretty well understood that we 
shall have no Senators to elect this winter, as it is the im¬ 
pression of both parties that neither of our present Sena¬ 
tors intend to resign as was once contemplated.” But, not¬ 
withstanding, the proceedings were carried to a conclusion. 
On hearing of the adoption of the resolution, and before 
they had been officially informed of them, the Senators ad¬ 
dressed a communication to the Legislature saying in sub¬ 
stance, that “if instructed thev would either obey or re¬ 
sign, but they must infer that the Legislature did not intend 
to exercise the right of instruction”: and thev asked “if 
they were wrong, to be informed.” When this communi¬ 
cation was read in the Senate, Senator Cherry offered a 
resolution that, “the resolutions passed by the Legislature 
were sufficiently plain and intelligible to be comprehended: 
and we believe the inquiry is not in good faith; that it 
would be inconsistent with the self-respect of the General 
Assembly to make any reply to it,” which was agreed to. 



BROWN AND STRANGE 


397 


When the Senate communicated its action, the House 
concurred, 59 to 44, and then refused to let the communica¬ 
tion of Senators Brown and Strange be entered on the 
Journal of the House. The two Senators, however, were 
not complacent, and not being instructed, but rather referred 
to the wishes of a majority of the people, they held on until 
in February, 1840, when, a new election coming on, the 
people could give expression to their wishes. They then 
resigned. 



CHAPTER XXV 


The 

northwest 


Conditions in 1840 

The small increase in population.—The Cumberland Road.— 
Removals from New England.—The North Carolina emigrants.— 
Those at home.—The State Bank.—The Federal deposit.—Agri¬ 
culture.—Commerce.—Wilmington; other ports.—Ocracoke.— 
Nags Head Inlet.—Cotton factories.—Internal Improvement Con¬ 
vention.—North and south lines.—Fayetteville’s efforts without 
avail.—Few capitalists at the 'west.—Western highways.—The 
Capitol.—Bechtler’s coins.—Schools.—The facilities.—Academies. 
—The Senate willing, the House opposed.—Denominational ef¬ 
forts.—Davidson College; Wake Forest; Trinity.—Partridge’s 
military schools.—Raleigh and Fayetteville.—St. Mary’s.—The 
other seminaries.—Marshall Ney.—Relative illiteracy.—Pupils 
at school.—The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad.—The Raleigh 
and Gaston.—The celebrations.—The steamboats.—The press.— 
The Cherokees.—Sequoya.—The Indian removal.—Some remain. 
—General Scott’s operations.—The boom in prosperity.—The 
Robeson and Person County Indians. 

Population 

By the census of 1840 North Carolina had a population 
of 484,870 whites, 22,732 free negroes, and 248,807 slaves. 
During this decade there had been no increase in the slaves 
and but 12,027 in the whites, being less than three per cent 
increase in that period, while a normal increase would have 
been about 16 per cent. The removal of white population 
was apparently about 68,000. No wonder Governor Dud¬ 
ley inveighed so strongly against it! But the removal of 
whites in South Carolina was even relatively greater, for the 
increase in whites in that State was only one-half of one 
per cent. Similarly in all the other Atlantic states there was 
a tide of emigrants westward. Nor was New England be¬ 
hind. The Cumberland road to the west was authorized 
in 1806 by Congress to be built with Federal appropriations, 
beginning at Cumberland on the Potomac and running to 
near Steubenville on the Ohio River. It was to be four 
rods wide and constructed as a turnpike, slight grades, 
hard surface. It was continued through Ohio in 1831 and 


MOVING OUT WEST 


399 


through Indiana and Illinois in 1835. This Cumberland 
road played an important part in the settlement of the north¬ 
west. The New England states vied with those of the 
South Atlantic in this work of expansion. In the appor¬ 
tionment of Representatives under the census of 1840 all of 
the northern states lost representation; and the increase of 
population in Connecticut, the land of steady habits and 
common schools, was for the decade four per cent, being 
only slightly more than in North Carolina. The movement 
from New England is indicated by Irving in describing 
Ichabod Crane’s fancied journey from Sleepy Hollow, hav¬ 
ing taken to wife the blooming Katrina, moving “with a 
whole family of children, mounted on the top of a wagon 
loaded with household trumpery, with pots and kettles 
dangling beneath, and he himself bestriding a pacing mare, 
with a colt at her heels, setting out for Kentucky or Tennes¬ 
see—or the Lord knew where.” 

George C. Mendenhall writing from Columbus, Ohio, in 
July, 1837, after mentioning the wonderful growth of 
towns in Ohio, almost in sight of each other, the rapid 
improvement, with fine, sturdy and splendid buildings, 
added: “I am, however, left with a strong impression fa¬ 
vorable to North Carolina.” North Carolina’s share in be¬ 
stowing on the Union the states of Missouri, Alabama, 
Mississippi, Arkansas, and Florida, and in building up Indi¬ 
ana, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia was im¬ 
portant, although it was at her own great sacrifice. Among 
her citizens who had migrated before 1849 were 37 who 
represented other states in the Federal Congress. Besides 
these, there were a multitude of other North Carolina emi¬ 
grants who attained eminence in their new homes, adorning 
the professions and filling state offices. The “Alabama 
fever" had especially prevailed, and a large proportion of 
the population of that State was of North Carolina nativity. 
While a dozen native North Carolinians represented Ten¬ 
nessee in Congress, at least ten represented Alabama. And 
among those emigrants were many men of the first class, 
men of substance, carrying with them so many slaves that 
there was no increase of slaves in the State. Particularly 
should be mentioned Presidents Jackson, Polk, and Andrew 


Emigrants 


The 

Alabama 

fever 




400 


CONDITIONS IN 18W 


Johnson; and Vice-President W. R. King; and among the 
Senators Thomas H. Benton of Missouri, William Allen of 
Ohio, Dixon of Kentucky, McLean, Illinois; Gabriel Moore 
and Israel Pickens and Senator Dixon H. Lewis who 
weighed 500 pounds of Alabama, and Jesse Speight and 
Thomas H. Williams, Mississippi; Hugh L. White and John 
Williams, Tennessee, as were Luke Lea and Emerson Eth¬ 
ridge; C. C. Cambreling, who located at New York, was 
among the most influential of the public men of his day. 
Among these of North Carolina descent were Bishop Gal¬ 
loway, Basil Manly, Bishop Green, Davis, Hawks, Dr. 
D. R. McAnally, John B. New and Joseph New, “pioneer 
preachers in Indiana”; Archibald Yell, Governor of Ar¬ 
kansas; Alfred W. Arrington, author; John Shoebridge 
Williams, founder of the American Pioneer, Cincinnati, 
editor and author. Miles Darden, who moved to Tennessee, 
was 7 feet 6 inches tall and weighed 1,000 pounds. A. J. 
Pickett, the historian of Alabama, Richard Jordan, the 
Quaker missionary, and Richard Jordan Gatling, the in¬ 
ventor of the rapid fire gun. The loss of such men to the 
State was deplorable indeed. 

By this withdrawal of the emigrants and the sale, often 
at a great sacrifice, of their property, the value of the land 
was kept down, and stagnation promoted. As compared 
with the valuation of 1815, the assessed value of the lands, 
despite the addition of a million and a half of new entries, 
was still two millions of dollars below the old level. 

Ideals of the public men 

In any view of the State one should not omit to note the 
superior excellence of the galaxy of really great men who 
adorned life in the Commonwealth. Whatever were the 
limitations imposed upon them by the unfortunate physical 
conditions of the State, they themselves were possessed of 
great personal merit. The order for Canova to make a statue 
of Washington is but an illustration—while the Capitol itself 
was at the time of its erection one of the most remarkable 
buildings in the L T nited States—an example of perfection in 
architecture. 



STATE BANKS 


401 


The judges of the State took high rank in judicial circles, 
and the “bar’’ was of superior merit. Dr. James McRee, 
a correspondent of the French Academy and of the Royal 
Society at London, was distinguished as a man of science, 
and famous as a botanist. Hardy B. Croom was likewise 
famous as a botanist, as was also Dr. Moses A. Curtis. 
There being no considerable urban population and the towns 
being small, the spirit of authorship was not fostered. Be¬ 
sides Mrs. Gales, only Judge Strange ventured into the 
realms of fiction. But later C. H. Wiley followed their ex¬ 
ample. • Oratory, however, was practiced, and there were 
many, who like Cherry and Hill, were particularly dis¬ 
tinguished for excellence. 

Finances 

During the year 1836, the new State Bank went into 
full operation. The State had borrowed $400,000 to pay 
for its stock, and had 4,058 shares. The capital stock was 
$1,500,000, which now was all paid in. There were branches 
at New Bern, Fayetteville, Tarboro, Elizabeth City; and 
agencies at Charlotte, Wilmington, Morganton, Leaksville, 
Milton and Windsor. The State also owned shares in the 
Bank of New Bern and the Bank of Cape Fear. Under the 
new act for assessing property, the aggregate value in 
1837 exceeded that of 1836 by $11,916,488; being about five 
millions less than it would have been under the standard of 
1815. There was an apparent want of uniformity in the 
valuations. 

The “surplus revenue” deposited by act of Congress gave 
a new coloring to public affairs. It had to be so invested 
that it might be returned. The general result is evidenced 
by the increased valuation of lands. That was the last year 
of the service of Samuel F. Patterson as Public Treasurer. 
His successor was David W. Courts who received in 1837 
three installments of the surplus revenue, amounting to 
$ 1 , 433 , 757 - 


26 



402 


CONDITIONS IN 18J+0 


Industry and commerce 


Ruffin 
Letters III, 
188 


While agriculture languished yet here and there were men 
of intelligence and of means whose operations set an example 
that others might well have followed. Indeed nearly every 
public man was engaged in planting. Chief Justice Ruffin 
had a fine farm in Alamance, and in Orange should be men¬ 
tioned Paul C. Cameron, who early delivered addresses be¬ 
fore the agricultural societies that are models. And in his 
farming operations he was ahead of the times. He wrote 
from Farintosh: “We have finished our crop of wheat; 
800 bushels have been seeded. I am devoting a large part 
of our labor to manure making. Shall shorten our crop of 
corn and cotton and enlarge the tobacco crop.” Others 
were equally advanced in their operations. Near Wil¬ 
mington, rice planting was remunerative. The prosperous 
plantations of the Dan and Roanoke rivers found their 
markets in Virginia. The middle west traded with Fay¬ 
etteville, and Fayetteville’s port was Wilmington. Robert 
W. Brown writing about this time of that town says that 
“he has had goods delivered at Fayetteville from New York 
within a week and ten days. . . . Our produce is par¬ 

ticularly adapted for the markets of the West India Islands; 
and the shipping of Wilmington and of the northern states, 
as well as foreign vessels, load here and depart for the West 
Indies, in as many directions as there are islands, their car¬ 
goes assorted with sawed lumber, staves, shingles, flour, 
rice, pork, bacon, lard, butter, naval stores, etc. A large 
proportion of our produce is transported coastwise to va¬ 
rious ports'—New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Bos¬ 
ton principally, and vice versa, the merchants and dealers of 
Wilmington and Fayetteville, embracing two extensive in¬ 
teriors of the State are furnished with a variety of mer¬ 
chandise from sundry ports of the northern coast, especially 
from New York. Regular packets ply between Wilmington, 
New York and Philadelphia. Steamboats of good capacity 
ply on the river below Wilmington. Indeed it was shown 
that Wilmington in six months had dispatched 152 vessels 
abroad and 150 coastwise, carrying a million dollars of 
exports.” Likewise, the Internal Improvement Convention 




INDUSTRIES AND COMMERCE 


403 


of 1838, in its memorial to the Legislature, said that “the 
tonnage of vessels employed in the foreign and coast trade 
of Wilmington exceeded that of Norfolk, Richmond and Pe¬ 
tersburg combined, although Norfolk was visited by more 
foreign vessels than Wilmington. . . . Cotton, now mostly 
packed in square bales, similar to that of South Carolina or 
Georgia—freight to England one-half to five-eighths. Ship¬ 
ments to France direct are made from Wilmington: Rice, 
200,000 bushels, equal to any. Charleston dealers send for 
it to clean there and export it. . . . Tobacco is uni¬ 

formly purchased from the planters by the merchants at 
Fayetteville and sent down to Wilmington for sale and to 
be shipped. Flour and wheat from Fayetteville. Flax seed 
is brought in wagons to Fayetteville. The seed is sown 
with no other view than to produce flax for domestic pur¬ 
poses. Crops in former years about 3,000 tierces. No other 
market in the southern states. Tar, turpentine—in abun¬ 
dance. The several distilleries working up turpentine in the 
home market now consume weekly 1,500 barrels of that raw 
material and it has become a great item of business here. 
They produce rosin, spirits of turpentine, and make varnish 
and pitch, lumber, staves, shingles.” 

While we have no similar account of the trade from New 
Bern, Edenton and other ports, yet in 1838 the Governor 
reported: “Some twelve hundred vessels now cross the 
Ocracoke bar annually—and produce of the value of one 
million of dollars passes through the canal, besides immense 
quantities in other directions to the markets of Virginia.” 

The importance of securing better facilities for the pro¬ 
motion of this commerce had led to persistent endeavors to 
open a new inlet at Nags Head. Surveys had been made 
and the feasibility of the enterprise was declared by com¬ 
petent engineers. Congress therefore was appealed to for 
assistance. 


Chronicles 
of the Cape 
Fear, 157 


House 
Journal 
1838, p. 291 


Cotton factories 

The spinning jenny and hand loom were still in use in 
every part of the State. Cotton, wool and flax were abun¬ 
dant ; and hatters here and there plied their trade. And the 



404 


CONDITIONS IN 181+0 


Chronicles 
of the Cape 
Fear, 131 


Western Carolina, proudly boasting of western enter¬ 
prises, pointed to the cotton factories at the west; one at 
Lincolnton, two at Fayetteville, one at Greensboro, others 
at Milton, Mocksville, Salem, in Randolph, at Lexington; 
and in Orange County, and nine others building! Then 
there were those in the eastern counties, particularly in 
Edgecombe. 

Internal improvements 

In 1833 uiany meetings were held in the interest of inter¬ 
nal improvements and on the 4th day of July a committee 
assembled at Raleigh, 120 delegates being in attendance, 
representing 21 counties in the eastern and western sections 
of the State. Governor Swain presided, Treasurer Samuel 
F. Patterson and Charles Manly were secretaries. 

In this convention Hon. William A. Graham urged as 
the policy of the State three north and south lines of rail¬ 
roads. He was antagonized by Joseph A. Hill of Wilming¬ 
ton, who advocated the old Caldwell idea of east and west 
lines, marketing the products of the State through North 
Carolina ports. Hill won the victory. The convention 
adopted resolutions to the effect that the Legislature ought 
to raise by loans such sums as will afford substantial as¬ 
sistance in the prosecution of the public works. That no 
work should be encouraged for carrying produce to a pri¬ 
mary market out of the State; that the Legislature be asked 
to take two-fifths of the stock of the companies; that a 
corresponding committee of 20 be appointed in each county; 
and that a second convention be held on the 4th Monday in 
November. In November the second convention met— 
and the General Assembly held a joint session at which the 
members of the convention were received—and their me¬ 
morial was delivered to the Assembly. The recommenda¬ 
tion of this convention as to the proposition of State aid 
became the basis of legislation. 

The first real effort to open up the interior was by Fay¬ 
etteville, and east and west lines were kept in view. In 
March, 1833, the city of Favetteville beine authorized to 
borrow $200,000 to be invested in the Cape Fear and Yadkin 



ROADS AND MAIL ROUTES 


405 


road, it was hoped that enough private subscriptions could 
be obtained to build the road. But in May such subscrip¬ 
tions as had been made were returned to the subscribers, 
it being stated that the project was abandoned because the 
western people took no interest in it and would not subscribe. 

It sufficiently appears that there was but slight accumula¬ 
tion of funds for investment at the west, as the field prod¬ 
ucts yielded only small net returns, and there were measur¬ 
ably few capitalists in that section. The project of water 
communication between the Yadkin and Cape Fear had 
failed; that of a highway between Fayetteville and the 
Rapids had failed, and, now, the hope of a-railroad from 
Fayetteville to the west virtually faded away, although for 
several years there continued to be efiforts made to secure 
subscriptions for such a road, but they were unavailing. 
The old dirt roads and turnpikes that led to the western 
counties continued to be the only channels of transportation. 
Of these there were some. There had long been roads to the 
Watauga settlement, and before 1800 several roads led out 
of Asheville, and in 1824 the Buncombe turnpike was started 
and four years later completed from Saluda Gap by the 
Warm Springs to Tennessee. Later, the turnpike, known 
as the “State road” from Asheville southwest was con¬ 
structed; and when General Scott was in the mountains he 
cut some other roads. 

In 1834 the mail route from Saluda to Asheville was by 
way of Lincolnton and Rutherfordton. The Warm Springs 
was a resort in the early days, “and in 1828 when Billy Vance 
kept the Warm Springs Hotel, old-fashioned stage coaches 
ran between Asheville and Greenville, Tennessee. 

The new methods of transportation by steamboat and loco¬ 
motive brought no changes to Western Carolina. While 
the east was building important facilities for transportation, 
at the west turnpikes were being constructed—some in part 
by the State and known as the State roads—those being 
particularly through the mountain region. But from Fay¬ 
etteville to the Buncombe turnpike, more than 250 miles, 
there was neither navigable stream, nor “railroad turnpike” 
nor “Macadam highway.” And “the roads from Raleigh 


Chronicles 
of the 
Cape Fear, 
1307 


Arthur: 
History of 
W. N. C., 
243 


House 
Journal 
1842, p. 411 



406 


CONDITIONS IN 1840 


Konkle: 

Morehead, 

409-411 


Sou. Hist. 

Assn. 

Papers, 

X, 67 


and Fayetteville west are the worst in the State. . . . 

The productions of the Yadkin Valley therefore go to 
Camden and Columbia; and those of the farther west, to 
Augusta and Charleston. . . . Cotton is going there 

at six cents, corn at $i.oo a barrel, and wheat so low that it 
takes one-half to transport the other half to market.” 

The Capitol 

Work on the Capitol having been begun and the plan 
being for a grand building, a number of skilled artisans 
were brought from Scotland for that work, and year by 
year appropriations averaging about $75,000 were made for 
the purpose. At first there were changes made in the per¬ 
sonnel of the commissioners, but finally, when State 
pride was aroused by the splendor of the structure as it 
progressed, entire satisfaction prevailed. The building for 
which at first there was a question whether the appropria¬ 
tion should be $20,000, or $50,000, when completed, cost 
$530,000. Among the commissioners were William Boy- 
lan, Duncan Cameron, Judge Henry Seawell, Judge Saun¬ 
ders, Samuel F. Patterson, Charles Manly, Beverly Daniel, 
Alfred Jones and Charles L. Hinton, whose services to the 
State and to posterity entitle them to gratitude. The archi¬ 
tect of the Capitol was David Paton, whose account of the 
plan shows that many of the beauties of the structure are 
modeled after famous specimens of architecture that 
adorned ancient edifices. 

Bechtler’s coin 

In 1830 a skilled worker in gold and silver, Bechtler, a 
native of the Grand Duchy of Baden, being then about fifty 
years of age, came to this State, and because of the native 
gold in the southwestern counties he began about 1832 to 
mint it into dollars. His assays were so just that his coin¬ 
age was accepted not only by the community but by the gov¬ 
ernment officials as being of standard value. There were 
two brothers, one of whom had a son; and all were engaged 
in this work. They struck off both $1 and $5 pieces. 



SLOW PROGRESS OF SCHOOLS 


40 7 


Probably their coinage amounted in all to about two mil¬ 
lions of dollars. Somewhat later the gold fever became 
so pronounced that hundreds of people flocked to the mines 
and some planters carried their negroes from the east to 
wash for gold. But the profits did not justify the operations 
and the fever died out. 

Schools 

In the absence of statistics we can only surmise that 
illiteracy was on the increase in the State. There were no 
free schools. However, the individual efforts that had long 
been made were not unavailing. The University, at first 
of only a “preparatory” rank, now furnished a classical 
education. And there had for a generation been many fine 
schools and academies of merit, although these were pat¬ 
ronized only by the children of educated parents who could 
pay the tuition. 

In 1801 it was recorded that there were many respectable 
academies in the State. “In 1810, the progress in ten years 
in civilization and education had been greater than during 
the preceding fifty years. In Edgecombe, fifty years earlier, 
“there was not more than one or two schools in the county. 
. . . Progress was slow, until the last two or three 

years. In 1812 it was said there were seventeen county 
schools, with 400 pupils, but no academies. However, con¬ 
ditions were deplorable, two-thirds can read, one-half of 
the men write, but not two-thirds of the women.” 

With Edgecombe as a sample, we can imagine the general 
condition, except in the communities where schools had long 
been established. 

In 1822, it was remarked that “Within the last twenty 
years, academies have been established by individual subscrib¬ 
ers and individual exertions in almost every county in the 
State.” Besides the academies, there were old field schools, 
taught for say two months only. It was doubtless to the 
teachers in these schools that President Caldwell referred 
in saying, virtually, that they were a disgrace to the State 
and to the communities that employed them. That they 
were inefficient is sufficiently indicated by the unfortunate 


Coon: 
Public 
Education, 
199 



408 


CONDITIONS IN 181+0 


Religious 

conditions 


condition that prevailed in the counties where a considera¬ 
ble part of the people could neither read nor write. And 
all the counties were measurably alike in that respect. The 
need for free schools was apparent, but the State was more 
an association of counties then a unified community; and 
the opposition to taxation was insurmountable. In 1818 Mr. 
Martin had offered a bill establishing schools by taxation. 
It passed the Senate almost unanimously but was postponed 
in the House. Six years later Charles Hill of Franklin 
proposed to create a fund for public schools, the Senate 
passed it two to one. It failed in the House. Mr. Sam 
P. Ashe offered a bill, making a direct annual appropria¬ 
tion to each county. It failed. The Western Carolinian 
said: “Mr. Ashe is for completing the whole system at 
once. His zeal in the cause has misled him.” From Edge¬ 
combe came a cry: “Free schools on whatever plan,” but 
the cry was without avail. Among the academies, the fe¬ 
male school at Salem was of the first reputation, then those 
at Raleigh, Warrenton, New Bern, Wilmington and Fay¬ 
etteville were deservedly in the front rank. The schools 
of Bingham and Rogers stood high. 

In the progress of events the several denominations felt 
the need of more active exertions. A more religious spirit 
diffused itself throughout the State. Atheism that had 
somewhat prevailed, perhaps in sympathy with French 
thought, had subsided, and the life of a new generation was 
quickened under the ministrations of strong and earnest 
preachers and teachers, who were in entire accord with the 
notable characteristics of the people, reverence for law and 
an attachment for the Christian virtues. 

And so at this period all the denominations were actively 
at work. The Presbyterians and Methodists had for years 
been organized. The Episcopalians organized in 1823 by 
selecting a Bishop, and in 1830 the Baptists held their first 
convention at Greenville in Pitt County. 

Education was one of the objects all denominations pro¬ 
posed to promote. In 1820 the Presbyterians of the north¬ 
western counties broke ground for a western college to be 
of the same rank with the University, and at a meeting at 
Lincolnton trustees were appointed; but the endeavor was 




1. Samuel Wait 
4. Calvin H. Wiley 


3. David L. Swain 


2. Robert H. Morrison 
5. Braxton Craven 





































































COLLEGES ESTABLISHED 


409 


not then successful. The necessary subscriptions were not 
obtained. Robert H. Morrison, who had in 1826 established 
at Fayetteville the first religious newspaper published in 
the State, was much interested that the Presbyterians should 
start a school. And he was a believer in the principle of a 
manual labor school and saw the practical bearing of such 
a movement, that it would be interesting to the Presbyterian 
farmers, and at length, in 1835, at the instance of Rev. 
James E. Morrison, his cousin, the Presbyterians of Con¬ 
cord, Bethel and Morganton resolved to establish a manual 
labor seminary, and to call it Davidson College. On March 1, 
1837, the institution was opened, Rev. R. H. Morrison, 
D.D., being its president. Dr. Morrison was easily one of 
the first men of his generation. Stonewall Jackson, General 
D. H. Hill, Gen. Rufus Barringer and Judge Avery were 
fortunate in marrying his daughters. 

In 1833, the Wake Forest Institute, a manual labor school, 
was opened in Wake County, and at the Baptist State Con¬ 
vention that November, a board of five trustees was ap¬ 
pointed, and in 1835 Judge Gaston delivered the address 
before the two literary societies. In 1839 it was called 
Wake Forest College. The manual labor feature was soon 
dropped. Its first president was Rev. Samuel Wait, D.D., 
who was indeed the father of the institution. 

In 1839 Brantley York opened a school in the neighbor¬ 
hood of Hopewell and Springfield, called the Union Insti¬ 
tute and then the Normal College. In 1841 Braxton Craven 
was employed as a teacher. The next year he became the 
principal, and from that grew Trinity College under the 
patronage of the Methodists. And this was the beginning 
of the great institution of that name. Of Braxton Craven it 
may be said that perhaps no other educator of this State 
left a finer and better impress on a considerable number of 
students than he did. 

It will be observed that “manual labor schools” were in 
the public mind; indeed they seem to have been favorably 
regarded at that period when public education was in its 
infancy. In Washington City, Congress incorporated two 
institutions of that character. 


Davidson 


Wake Forest 


Trinity 




4io 


CONDITIONS IN mo 


Military 

schools 


St. Marys 


Female 

academies 


About 1829, Captain Partridge, who had long conducted 
a famous military school in Connecticut, visited North Car¬ 
olina and determined to establish two schools similar to his 
own in the State. Mr. D. H. Bingham opened the first of 
these schools at Littleton; but, after moving it to Oxford, 
finally located it in Raleigh, occupying the former residence 
of Chief Justice Taylor. The other was located at Fayette¬ 
ville. This Major Bingham built the Experimental Rail¬ 
road at Raleigh, in 1833, but later became the construction 
engineer of a railroad in Alabama. 

The Episcopalians started a boys’ school at Raleigh under 
the general supervision of Bishop Ravenscroft in 1824, the 
principal being Mr. George W. Freeman (afterwards Bishop 
Freeman). This school was continued, perhaps with some 
interruption, for a decade. In 1834 it was under the di¬ 
rection of Joseph G. Coggswell, who afterwards was the 
librarian of the Astor Library of New York. Later, the 
school was under the famous Dr. Moses A. Curtis, and Dr. 
Adam Empie. It was located on the grounds known as 
“St. Mary’s,” and the two old stone buildings still in use 
were then erected and occupied. In 1840 it was discon¬ 
tinued as a male school; but after some years was reopened 
as a female school under Dr. Aldert Smedes, and has ever 
since been a noted female seminary. 

The Greensboro Female Academy had been started in 
1829 as a department of the Greensboro Academy; and now 
the Edgeworth School was opened at Greensboro, that was 
destined to exert a most beneficial influence over that section 
of the State, as the female schools at Murfreesboro, War- 
renton, Halifax, Pittsboro, Louisburg, New Bern, Wilming¬ 
ton, Fayetteville, Raleigh and elsewhere were similarly ex¬ 
erting in their respective communities. 

Indeed, in nearly every county was a school of merit. At 
Greensboro in 1821 Jonathan Worth was a teacher, and in 
Caswell, Bartlett Yancey had been a teacher. 

Among the teachers who left their impress on many fami¬ 
lies in the western counties was one who called himself 
Peter S. Nev, and it was currently believed that he was 
Marshal Ney. He evidently had the training of a soldier. 
He came to this State in 1819, and taught school in Iredell 



WOODEN TRACK RAILROADS 


411 


County and elsewhere till his death in 1846. He was, says 
Judge Murphey, “a well-educated, intelligent Scotchman.” 
His son who died at Indiana about 1912, when over a hun¬ 
dred years of age, bore the name of Neyman. He caused to 
be inscribed on his tombstone: “Son of Marshal Ney of 
North Carolina.” For nearly a generation, this “Marshal 
Ney” taught many of the boys of the better class in the 
western part of the State. 

While, therefore, education had not been furnished to the 
poor children of the State, it must not be forgotten that in 
other states the same conditions then prevailed; and that 
illiterates among our people had their counterpart in every 
other state of the Union. 

Nor was there any other state with a white population no 
larger than that of North Carolina that had so many pupils 
at school in 1850. 

Railroads 

As the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad and the Raleigh 
and Gaston Railroad were being constructed, each from its 
terminal, stage coaches were used to fill the gap, but finally 
early in 1840 both were completed. 

The first train ran through from Weldon to Wilmington 
on March 7, 1840. The construction was begun in October, 
1836, Governor Dudley being the president, but when elected 
Governor he retired and General James Owen became pres¬ 
ident. The chief engineer was Walter Gwynn with Mat¬ 
thew T. Goldsborough of Maryland in charge of the southern 
division and Francis N. Barbasin of the northern half. The 
last spike was driven near Waynesboro, and the point be¬ 
came the town of Goldsboro. 

The road like all others of that date was laid with wooden 
rails, on which were fastened plate iron, two inches wide 
and about half an inch thick. At the time this company 
was chartered, the railroads, being in their infancy, were con¬ 
sidered as having the nature of turnpikes; and the provision 
was made in the charters that others could run their own 
vehicles or carriages over them as turnpikes. The com¬ 
panies were authorized to establish toll gates and charge tolls 



412 


CONDITIONS IN 1840 


Chronicles 
of the 
Cape Fear 


At Raleigh 


for the use of the roadway; and they had authority to buy 
such carriages and horses as they would themselves need in 
transportation. 

But in 1840 locomotives were already in use. Twelve 
locomotives were running on the Wilmington road, two 
built in England; five at Philadelphia and three at Richmond. 
They were named for the eleven counties the road ran 
through, and Bladen. There were eight coaches, patterned 
after stage coaches, but with eight wheels; also fifty freight 
cars. Four steamers of the first class, owned by the com¬ 
pany, continued the route to Charleston. 

In that nascent period, it has been said “engines were 
doll-babies.” The coaches were somewhat like the stage 
coach they superseded. While the engines could make speed, 
say ten miles an hour, they had but little traction. Some¬ 
times the end of an iron rail would become loose and, ris¬ 
ing, would be forced up by the wheel, and would pass up 
into the coach, occasionally impaling a passenger. The last 
unfortunate occurrence of that kind recalled was when about 
1845, daughter of Governor Dudley was returning from 
Petersburg with her infant son, later Judge Purnell. The 
iron rail struck the infant on the forehead and penetrated 
the nurse, causing her death. But about 1845 the flat iron 
was replaced by the improved U rail, which soon gave 
place to the T rail. 

The construction of the Wilmington and Weldon Rail¬ 
road was easy, as the land over which it passed was level, 
and its course generally straight. The Raleigh and Gaston 
had more difficulties to overcome, and when it was pro¬ 
posed to build a line from Raleigh to Greensboro, it was 
held that the hilly country rendered it impracticable. 

While the locomotives had been running on the Wilming¬ 
ton road, then the longest railroad in the world, and on the 
•upper part of the Gaston road, it was not till towards the 
end of March, 1840, that the first locomotive entered 
Raleigh. The Raleigh road to Gaston having completed 
its 86 miles, the Tornado, the largest of its engines, came 
rolling into the city. There was the greatest enthusiasm. 
“The bells rang, the artillery roared, and the people cheered.” 
The engines used wood for fuel, and their puffing was a 




TRAINS TO WILMINGTON 


4i3 


new sensation. All sorts of quirks and jibes were in the 
mouths of the people. 

Chew—Chew—to go ahead 
Chew—Chew—to back her. 

The completion of the roads produced much excitement. 
At Wilmington, beginning April 5, they had three days of 
rejoicing and 160 rounds of artillery were fired. At 
Raleigh, the Capitol having been finished, a joint celebration 
was arranged, beginning June 10 and continuing three days. 
It attracted distinguished and patriotic people from every 
section, and in some respects was the greatest celebration 
in the annals of the State. The Gaston road was built un¬ 
der George W. Mordecai as its president; but when com¬ 
pleted Samuel F. Patterson, of “Happy Valley,” who was 
distinguished for his capacity and business abilities, and 
who had served as State Treasurer with great credit, was 
elected president and administered its affairs. 

Steamboats had been a success. They plied on the eastern 
waters. At Fayetteville the Cape Fear and Western Steam¬ 
boat Company now was incorporated with a provision that 
its charges should be 20 per cent less than those previously 
allowed the Henrietta Company. The four fine steamers 
running between Wilmington and Charleston in connection 
with the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company were 
equal to the best then built. Passengers, freight and the 
mail from the north to the farthest south now came by way 
of Wilmington to Charleston; and from the first, the possi¬ 
bilities of that route were realized. 

The press 

In the State there were some temperance, religious and 
other publications, but the newspapers were chiefly political; 
of these there were twenty-five, the Whigs controlling two- 
thirds of the number and generally having superior editors. 

At Raleigh, Joseph Gales, who had given a high tone to 
the press, had urged Sunday schools, Bible societies and 
every innovation that promised to promote a higher civili¬ 
zation, as well as such propositions as would advance the 


The 

rejoicing 


Steamboats 



414 


CONDITIONS IN 18J0 


prosperity of the State, had given place to his son, Weston, 
who continued in his footsteps. And the Standard, started 
in 1834 by Philo White, was now published by Thomas 
Loring, and led the Jackson Democrats. At Fayetteville 
Edward J. Hale had established the Observer, a powerful 
Whig advocate, extensively circulated at the west. At New 
Bern, the Spectator was well edited, the Greensboro Patriot 
under Lyndon Swaim, took rank with the first papers in im¬ 
portance. At Hillsboro, Dennis Heartt continued the Re¬ 
corder. Salisbury had the Carolina Watchman under J. J. 
Bruner; and at Lincolnton were the Republican and the 
Courier. At Wilmington were the Messenger, afterwards 
known as the Journal when published by Fulton and Price, 
and other papers of consequence. There were some twenty- 
five of these political papers located at nearly every town 
but many having only a limited circulation. Still they kept 
politics at a boiling heat. 

Nearly every newspaper man had a bookstore, and also 
a print shop, publishing such books as were offered. 

The Indians 

Under a treaty of 1817, over six thousand of the Cher- 
okees who occupied territory east of the Mississippi and 
reaching into North Carolina, moved to the far west; but 
many who did not wish to go remained. 

These eventually formed a government patterned after 
that of the United States. Indeed, they were undergoing 
a process of civilization, and about 1821 a half-breed known 
as Sequoya, but called by the whites George Gist, invented a 
Cherokee alphabet; and soon many of the Indians could 
read and write in it. Newspapers and books were printed 
in this alphabet, and a Cherokee grammar was eventually 
printed. 

This performance was in after years so highly esteemed 
that upon the discovery of the great redwood trees in Cali¬ 
fornia, which American botanists at first called “Wash¬ 
ingtonians” and the British Wellingtonians, an Italian gave 
them the name of Sequoya, and this name was adopted for 
them. 



INDIAN TREATIES 


4i5 


At length the treaty of 1836 was agreed to by most of the 
head men of the Indians and the United States commis¬ 
sioners, under which the Indians were to remove. But not¬ 
withstanding the terms in the treaty as agreed upon by the 
chiefs, a large number of the Indians did not wish to give 
up their eastern residence. Nevertheless President Jackson, 
in submitting the treaty to the Senate for ratification, said 
he had determined that none should be allowed to remain 
but all should go out together. This treaty was ratified by 
the Senate with this as a supplementary article; which, 
however, does not seem to have been assented to by the 
Indians. 

The Indian territory extended eastward to the Nantahala 
Mountains, and in 1835 the Indians in North Carolina num¬ 
bered 3,644. In this treaty it was said that this tribe was 
so civilized that whenever Congress should provide for ad¬ 
mitting a delegate from the tribe, it should be entitled to 
have one. By a treaty of 1835 it was provided: “Such 
heads of Cherokee families as are desirous to reside within 
North Carolina subject to the laws of the State should be 
entitled to 160 acres of land, so laid off as to include their 
present dwellings.” Under such circumstances, all the lands 
obtained from this tribe by the State, was at this period 
opened to entry; and at the session of 1838, a new county 
was cut off from Macon, called Cherokee. Then further 
east, another new‘county was laid off called Henderson. 
The west was now increasing in population. Buncombe, 
Burke, Rutherford, Lincoln, Iredell and Wilkes were among 
the counties polling the heaviest vote in the State. When 
these Indians were to be removed beyond the Mississippi, 
only about 2,000 went voluntarily. General Scott at the 
head of a force, numbering 7,000 men, was charged with 
their removal. He established his headquarters at New 
Echita, which had been the capital of their government, 
and began his operations. He erected a fort at the junc¬ 
tion of the Little Tennessee and Nantahala, and another 
twenty miles up the Nantahala, and others at points where 
now stand Robbinsville, Hayesville, Old Valleytown and 
Murphy. The Indians fled to the mountains. Various de- 


Statutes at 
Large VII. 
488 


Indian 
treaties, 483 



4i 6 


CONDITIONS IN 18k0 


Arthur: 
Hist. 

w. n. a 

576 


Wheeler, 

206 


Moore’s 
Report 
Leg. Doc. 
1848 


plorable incidents occurred; and at length it is said the 
General made an agreement that i,ooo might remain, and 
about that number were not removed. 

Ten years later, a treaty was made recognizing their right 
to remain, adjusting their rights under the treaty of 1836. 

About 1830, You-na-gu-ska, the principal chief of the 
Cherokees about Qualla, assembled his people and got them 
to abandon the use of spirituous drink, and they became so 
civilized that soon “each family was capable of reading the 
Scriptures in their own language, and manufacturing their 
own clothing, and they understood farming and the mechan¬ 
ical arts as well as their white neighbors.” 

General Scott’s army remained in our mountains about 
two years, and as it had to be supplied with provisions from 
the country, the farmers in the vicinity reaped a rich har¬ 
vest. Everybody was prosperous. Lands rose in value. 
Hundreds of settlers pressed forward and entered lands. 
When the State had a public sale of lands, they brought 
three times their former value, part of the payment being 
deferred. Later, when the boom was over, the purchasers 
were in distress, and the State had to compromise with them. 
In addition, large entries had been made within the Indian 
territory before the State had title, and litigation ensued. 


W. and M. 
Quarterly, 
1923, 
p. 153 


Robeson and Person Comity Indians 

In addition to these Indians, there is a community in Rob¬ 
eson County, formerly considered as negroes, but having 
such Indian blood in them that the Legislature has desig¬ 
nated them as Indians. They probably derived their In¬ 
dian descent from the local tribes of the Cape Fear, and 
the first admixture of white blood was probably with some 
of Steed Bonnett’s pirates who may have escaped in 1719. 

In Person County there is a similar community extending 
well into Virginia. These likewise were formerly consid¬ 
ered free negroes, but now are designated as Indians. In 
1714 the Governor of Virginia set aside a reservation south 
of the Meherrin River, for the Saponies, Occoneechees and 
Tollero Indians who inhabited central North Carolina. 

The origin of the Person County Indians may be con¬ 
nected with these old North Carolina tribes. 



CHAPTER XXVI 


The Great Campaign 

State organization.—Morehead and Saunders for Governor.— 
Harrison nominated for President.—Owen declined to be nomi¬ 
nated for Vice-President.—Tyler taken.—Democrats nominate 
Van Buren.—Birney also runs.—The campaign.—Internal im¬ 
provements.—Morehead and Saunders.—The distribution of the 
public lands.—Attitude towards the negro.—Log cabins.—Hard 
cider.—Coon skins.—The Whig triumph in August.—The demon¬ 
stration at Raleigh.—The ship.—The Old North State.—The rol¬ 
licking campaign.—The Assembly.—Mangum and Graham Sena¬ 
tors.—Dudley’s message urges penitentiary and asylums.—Nags 
Head Inlet.—Pungo and Alligator Canal.—Progress in draining 
swamps.—Transportation from New Bern to mountains.—The 
depressed values.—The protest against personal liability for cor¬ 
porate debts.—A view of the west.—Hall and Battle Judges.— 
Cleveland, Caldwell and iStanly incorporated.—Aid to the rail¬ 
roads.—Turnpike in Buncombe.—Proposition to repair statue of 
Washington.—Manufacturing companies.—Education.—The new 
school law.—Morehead inaugurated.—Congressmen to be elected 
in May.—Badger Secretary of Navy.—Special session of Congress. 

—Election.—Death of Harrison.—The Whigs break with Tyler.— 

The Federal and the Republican Whigs.—Mangum.—The State 
campaign.—Henry and Morehead.—Adams petitions to dissolve 
the Union.—State matters subordinate to Federal concerns.— 
Morehead elected.—Death of Lewis Williams.—Democrats have 
the Assembly.—The railroads.—Morehead’s recommendations.— 

The schools.—New apportionments.—The senatorial contest.— 
Haywood elected.—The instructions.—The effect of Morehead’s 
message as to public land, etc.—Fires at Wilmington.—Sir 
Charles Lyell. 

j 

The election 

Prior to the change in the Constitution providing for the 
election of the governor by the popular vote, there had 1840 
been no statewide election. The nearest approach was the 
choice of electors for the districts, those candidates re¬ 
ceiving the highest aggregate vote in the entire State being 
chosen. Practically the counties of the State had been the 
repositories of power and the system was a representative 
republic. With the advent of the Whigs, there were local 


27 


418 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


Sargeant’s 

Clay, 

198-199 


committees and central committees, and county committees, 
in a word, State organization. 

In 1839 the friends of Morehead, who had long been one 
of the most important western members of the Assembly, 
began to bring him forward as the successor of Governor 
Dudley. County after county in the central west followed 
the lead of Guilford in presenting him; and when the State 
Whig Convention met at Raleigh, on November 12, it 
unanimously nominated him. On January 9, 1840, the 
Democrats selected Judge Romulus M. Saunders, who 
being on the bench, at once resigned. For four years the 
candidates had been of the east; now the west was arrayed 
against itself. Both candidates announced themselves in 
favor of common schools and internal improvements; but 
Saunders did not favor going into debt. 

Earlier, the “Democratic-Whig Convention” met at Har¬ 
risburg, December 5, James Barlow presiding. While 
Clay was perhaps the favorite of the North Carolina Whigs, 
it was deemed improbable that he could be elected. For 
two days the delegates canvassed the situation, and it was 
found that General Harrison, who had been the candidate 
of the northern Whigs four years before, was deemed the 
most available candidate, and he was selected. Governor 
Owen was chairman of the nominating committee, and it is 
understood that he could have been nominated for Vice- 
President, but his position seemed to him inconsistent with 
the acceptance of the proffered honor, and he declined; 
whereupon, John Tyler of Virginia, a delegate, who was 
thought to be in line with the convention on all important 
questions, was selected as the candidate. 

The Democratic Convention met at Baltimore and Presi¬ 
dent Van Buren was again presented as the Democratic 
nominee; but the nomination of the Vice-President was re¬ 
ferred to the states. In June the Democratic Central Com¬ 
mittee called a State convention for July 9 and R. M. John¬ 
son of Kentucky received the endorsement of the conven¬ 
tion for Vice-President. 



MOREHEAD AND SAUNDERS 


419 


The campaign 

There was now another candidate in the Presidential 
field—James G. Birney, abolitionist, set up by the “Liberal 
party”—but the people of all the states generally adhered to 
their old party organizations. Everywhere the campaign 
was warm and interesting, but nowhere more so than in 
North Carolina. The railroad celebrations, where the 
Whigs emphasized their devotion to internal improvements, 
had a particular bearing on the campaign. Then in June 
the Senators resigned, to be effective when the Legislature 
should meet. While asserting that the resolutions passed 
by the last Legislature were not instructions to resign, they 
yet desired, they said, to submit the matter to the people. 
Thus as two Senators were involved, unusual interest cen¬ 
tered in the result of the election; besides, while the cam¬ 
paign generally throughout the Union was one of intense 
popular interest, it was particularly so in this State and fa¬ 
mous for its picturesqueness. Every party device was called 
into requisition. There were most thorough local organiza¬ 
tions, committees in the precincts, meetings and joint discus¬ 
sion. The press teemed with invective and fierce pamphlets 
were distributed. 

The campaign formally opened at Hillsboro with a joint 
discussion between Morehead and Saunders. The latter 
was thought to have had the best of it. While the joint can¬ 
vass was not continuous, these principal figures in the contest 
often met on the hustings. In April and May they made 
their campaigns in the northeastern counties. At Snow 
Hill, Greene County, they met on May 14. A correspondent 
wrote: “This has been a great day for Snow Hill. Never 
since the days of the giants, have our sandhills been the 
arena of so great intellectual war as we have witnessed 
today. ... As a Whig, I may be pardoned for be¬ 
lieving that Mr. Morehead bore away the palm. His broad 
and smiling countenance, lighted up with perfect good 
humor, is occasionally irresistible. He has winning ways 
to make men love him. The strength and energy and un¬ 
wavering directness of his attacks tell with tremendous 
effect. But he who supposes that General Saunders is but 


Morehead 

and 

Saunders 



420 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


Federal 

questions 


a plaything for Mr. Morehead, or anybody else, has mis¬ 
taken the man. Some parts of his speech were truly 
eloquent. 

Of Morehead, the Carolina Watchman said: “There are 
few men who can combine so many popular qualities as 
John M. Morehead, highly gifted by nature, with an elo¬ 
quence, strong, clear and convincing, he combines the rare 
qualities of genuine wit.” On May 22, the candidates met at 
Oxford. “Judge Saunders opened the debate, spoke three 
hours and a half, and delivered a speech that did him much 
credit; for a Van Buren man, it was candid and open. We 
were somewhat uneasy and began to think that his ingenuity 
could not be successfully answered.” But this Whig re¬ 
porter was later comforted. “Morehead’s speech was ad¬ 
mitted on all hands to equal, if it did not surpass, any 
speech ever delivered here. At times the audience was 
enchained by his eloquence, and then again amused beyond 
expression by the introduction of humorous caricatures of 
the powers that be.” 

At Raleigh the Whig paper was to the same effect. It 
sufficiently appears that the candidates were well matched, 
although Morehead doubtless had more humor in his ad¬ 
dresses. It was indeed a contest of fine intelligence and ac¬ 
quirements and highly creditable to the State. Among the 
points in these and other debates was the Whig proposition 
to distribute the public lands or their proceeds between the 
old states. The national Democrats had taken a position 
against that; and that question would not down, but re¬ 
mained in the political arena until the opening of the Civil 
War. Another was the attitude of the national candidates 
toward slavery, and in some measure that involved the 
record of each of the candidates, for both had been equally 
kindly disposed towards the negro. Van Buren was much 
inclined to abolitionism, and that, and the charges against 
the administration of extravagance made against the whole 
Democratic ticket. As had long been the case, Federal pol¬ 
itics and Federal questions were given greater prominence 
than purely State matters, and the Whigs were the attack¬ 
ing party, thus having an advantage. Then, besides, an effort 



“LOG CABIN” AND “HARD CIDER” 


421 


to belittle General Harrison, who at least merited fair treat¬ 
ment by his fellow citizens, reacted to his benefit. Some 
Democratic editor thought to stigmatize him as a common 
backwoodsman, saying: “Give Harrison a log cabin and a 
barrel of hard cider, and he will not leave Ohio.” The 
Whigs took up the gauntlet and the campaign became known 
as the “Log Cabin” campaign, every town and county hav¬ 
ing its “Log Cabin,” as the meeting halls of Whig assem¬ 
blages were called, and “hard cider” and “coon-skins” 
played an important part. From Maine to Louisiana and 
Missouri, hills and valleys rang with the echoes of the Whig 
war cry. In this State, there was a multitude of meetings, 
the greatest being the assembling of Whigs from sixteen 
counties at Salisbury in July, where the utmost enthusiasm 
prevailed. Following fast on that demonstration came the 
August election. Old Zip Coon carried the day. The 
Whigs were triumphant even beyond their calculation. 
Morehead carried forty-one of the sixty-one counties and 
rolled up a popular majority of 8,581, with a strong Whig 
Legislature at his back. Four years earlier although 
Dudley carried the State by 14,000 majority, Van 
Buren received the electoral vote in November. The Whig 
leaders did not propose that such a reverse should occur 
again, and the presidential campaign now became intensified, 
the leaders on both sides redoubling their efforts. But the 
Whigs were the most astute. They held a great convention 
at Raleigh in October, where enthusiasm knew no bounds. 
Every device to heighten the excitement was resorted to. 
While it was a week of “Log Cabins,” of music, proces¬ 
sions, songs and addresses, Wilmington contributed a spec¬ 
tacle that particularly appealed to the inland people. Ear¬ 
lier in the year that community had been visited by a ter¬ 
rible conflagration that swept from the river across the 
business portion of the town, even beyond the courthouse, 
devouring everything in its path. But notwithstanding such 
a loss, the political energy of the Whigs did not abate. A 
ship, full-rigged and beautiful to look on, was built at the 
shipyard. It was named the Constitution. A crew of 
captain and six men were aboard, and bedecked with flags 


Attack on 
Harrison 


At Raleigh 


The ship 



422 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


The new 
Capitol 


and colors she was brought to Raleigh. Here she was the 
center of attraction and was borne in the procession amid 
constant cheers. When the great demonstration had closed 
the ship was left, to be awarded to that county whose vote in 
November showed the greatest relative increase over the 
previous vote. Surry County won the trophy. In the pro¬ 
cessions, the counties carried banners such as “Whig in 
1776 and Whig in 1840,” emphasizing their devotion. On 
the second day, the convention sang Judge Gaston’s song, 
“The Old North State Forever,” then for the first time 
published. This song, now famous, had been written by 
Judge Gaston incidental to an exhibition by an Austrian 
troupe at Raleigh, who sang a Hungarian song. The music 
appealed to Miss Taylor, Miss Lossie Hill and others. The 
girls hummed the music to the Judge, who wrote the words 
to the tune. Of the Whigs during that long campaign, 
some one has written: “If one could imagine the people 
declaring a holiday or season of rollicking for a period of 
six or eight months, and giving themselves up during the 
whole time to the wildest freaks of fun and frolic, singing, 
dancing and carousing, he might have a notion of the extra¬ 
ordinary scenes of 1840.” Nor was the enthusiasm without 
result. Four years earlier, the total vote in North Carolina 
was 52,656, now it was 79,491. The Harrison vote was 
46,316 and that for Van Buren 33,175. Wilkes County 
went for Harrison nearly fourteen to one; Montgomery, 
nearly eleven to one, and other large western counties, six 
to one. 

When on November 16, 1840, the Legislature assembled 
in the new Capitol, “A noble building, and honorable to the 
State, and will descend to posterity as a proud monument 
of the spirit of the age,” assuredly, the Whigs were proud 
indeed. What the Governor called “This peaceful revolu¬ 
tion” had been accomplished. “The people had declared 
against the administrations of the Federal and most of 
the State governments,” and now the Whigs are to “calmly 
survey the position we occupy and prepare ourselves with 
energy and dignity to meet the crisis.” 

In the halls were assembled many of the most famous of 
the public men, representing each party. In the Senate 



MAN GUM AND GRAHAM 


423 


were Strong, Joyner, Shepard, Speed, Mangum, Worth, 
Dockery, Clingman, Gaither, Bynum, Hawkins, Whitfield, 
Arrington, Kerr, McDiarmid, Reid, Wilson and Edwards; 
and in the House men of equal stamina and reputation. 
Joyner was chosen Speaker of the upper branch by seven 
majority over Lewis D. Wilson, while in the House, where 
the Whigs had thirty majority, William A. Graham was re¬ 
elected without opposition. 

The first business was to elect Senators to replace those 
who had resigned. A correspondent of Judge Ruffin wrote 
him: “The Legislature will do nothing until they have made 
the elections of Senators. Mr. Mangum is the first choice of 
all, as it is said, the victory will not be complete until he is 
restored to his seat. Judge Gaston has but to say that he 
would go into the service, and no one would stand in his 
way.” Mangum and Graham were chosen over the former 
Senators. It was a proud day for Mangum, who now had 
the popular verdict in his favor. And while both Brown 
and Strange were equal to the high duties of Senators, yet 
Mangum and Graham suffered nothing by the comparison. 
Governor Dudley had now served four years, one year 
.longer than any other Governor since the time of Alexander 
Martin and in his last message he gave a disquisition on 
political affairs that indicates his mastery of the subject. 

The two railroads had not made money and were em¬ 
barrassed. He recommended an increase of a million dol¬ 
lars in the capital stock of both the Bank of the State and 
Bank of Cape Fear, and the State to take stock, on condi¬ 
tion that they lend the roads three or four hundred thousand 
dollars. He urged the construction of a penitentiary, of 
lunatic and orphan asylums and houses of refuge. And he 
mentioned that “most of the counties had adopted the com¬ 
mon school system; that Major Walter Gwvnn had made a 
survey of Nags Head showing that the inlet ought to be 
opened there; that the draining of the swamp lands had 
progressed; Pungo Canal was finished and the Alligator 
Canal half done; and some 15.000 acres of land were ready 
for market. He urged that Neuse River be rendered nav¬ 
igable as high up as practicable and a railroad be built from 


The 

Senators 


Dudley’s 

message 


Canals and 
swamps 



424 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


Depression 


House 

Journal, 615 


The 

railroads 

aided 


there to Raleigh, and a turnpike on to the mountains. Private 
subscriptions had not been obtained' to secure State aid to 
the Fayetteville and Western Railroad. While the panic 
had not perhaps been so disastrous in its effect in North 
Carolina as elsewhere, yet Governor Dudley put on record: 
“We see every species of property greatly sunk in value; 
slaves depreciated at least 50 per cent; land yet more; and 
lots in our most favored places scarcely selling for the costs 
of improvements. Very few farms yield legal interest and 
in the aggregate not two per cent of their value.” 

Water powers and manufacturing 

When the bill incorporating the Little River Manufac¬ 
turing Company was before the House and an amendment 
was offered and adopted, making the stockholders individ¬ 
ually liable for its debts, a strong and lengthy protest was 
entered by Ham Jones, B. F. Moore, Dr. Fred Hill and 
a dozen others. In it these members, after mentioning 
the water powers in the western part of the State and the 
stimulus given to manufacturing, said “the natural fruit of 
the peculiar position of the western half of the State is al¬ 
ready disclosing itself in factories for the fabrication of- 
yarn and cloth, while the local riches of its mines are be¬ 
coming daily the subject of attention and industrious enter¬ 
prise, through the operations of combined capital, united 
under the advantages of corporate powers. But capital 
is scarce.” This protest is a masterly presentation of the 
subject, and it affords evidence of conditions in 1840 that 
is highly illuminating. 

Judges Saunders and Toomer having retired from the 
bench, the Governor had appointed Edward Hall of Warren 
and W. H. Battle. The Legislature now elected these gen¬ 
tlemen, this being the beginning of Judge Battle’s long, use¬ 
ful and illustrious career on the bench. Several new coun¬ 
ties were proposed; and Cleveland, Caldwell and Stanly 
were incorporated. The west was coming into its own. 
The railroad companies needing financial aid, the Wilming¬ 
ton and Weldon Company was authorized to issue $300,000 
mortgage bonds which the State was to endorse; and, sim¬ 
ilarly, the Raleigh and Gaston Company was authorized to 



INDUSTRY AND EDUCATION 


425 


issue $300,000 of mortgage bonds, which the State was to 
endorse and besides the mortgage of the road, the stock¬ 
holders were to execute their personal bond for $500,000 
which was to be renewed every two years. And in case that 
company failed to pay its interest, the Governor was to ask 
the court to appoint a receiver, and in case of nonpayment 
of principal, the Governor was to foreclose the mortgage. 
A similar proposition with regard to the Wilmington and 
Weldon Railroad was defeated by yeas 45, nays 62; and the 
bill to aid that road passed in the House by four majority. 
To make it easier for the North Carolina Central Railroad 
Company from Beaufort to the Wilmington Railroad to 
organize, the charter of that company was amended, fixing 
the capital stock at one million, but there was a proviso that 
the State “shall not be bound” to take any part of the 
capital stock. A company was incorporated to construct a 
turnpike from Rutherford County into Buncombe, the capi¬ 
tal stock to be $10,000, of which the State was to subscribe 
one-fourth. 

The Whigs being now in full control adopted a political 
resolution affirming the position of the Southern Whigs in 
regard to the public lands, and requesting the congressmen 
of the State to have a division of the proceeds of the sales 
of the public domain among the states. Another resolution 
authorized Mr. John Frasier, a native artist of New York, 
to repair the statue of Washington, but nothing came of that 
action. Among the corporations authorized were the Little 
River Manufacturing Company, the Crow Creek Company, 
and the Beaver Creek Company—Cumberland County at 
least was awake to a manufacturing spirit; the Salisbury 
Manufacturing Company, the Concord Manufacturing Com¬ 
pany, and the North Carolina Land and Mining Company 
with a capital of one million. Nor was education forgotten. 
Floral College was incorporated, as were academies at 
Asheville, Rutherford and Kenansville; and to aid Wake 
Forest College ten thousand dollars was lent to that insti¬ 
tution. The first payments of the State to the counties for 
common schools, were: 13 school districts, Tyrrell; 16 
school districts, Cherokee; 22 school districts, Richmond; 


House 
Journal, 540 


New 

corporations 


Education 



426 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


The tax 
clause 


New school 
law 


Morehead 

Governor 


1841 


9 school districts, Macon: up to November, 1840, only 
$2,400; but the next year the payments were $32,836; and 
in 1842, there were $65,277. A new school law was intro¬ 
duced in the Senate and passed, but in the House there was 
much opposition, based on the Federal plan of distribution, 
and also on the levying of any tax by the county courts. 
O11 this last proposition the vote stood 42 against the tax, 
and 69 to retain the tax; and strange to say some of those 
who opposed the tax were strong men and chiefly from the 
west. But there was no provision for a State Superintend¬ 
ent. The school law as amended required the dis¬ 
tribution among the counties of the net income of the Lit¬ 
erary Fund; and that the counties should raise by taxation 
one-half of the amount it would receive under the distri¬ 
bution ; also that the school committeemen should be elected 
by the voters of the districts; and, along with many other 
regulations, statistical reports were required to be made to 
the Board of the Literary Fund. The great stumbling block 
in regard to the school bill was whether the fund should be 
distributed on the basis of the white population or on the 
Federal basis, adding in the negroes at three-fifths; the east 
being for the latter. In the House it was proposed to take a 
vote of the people on that question but the motion failed 
33 to 76. Governor Morehead was inaugurated with great 
ceremony on January 1. Under the statute, representatives 
in Congress would have been regularly elected in August, 
but in case of an emergency, the Governor was authorized to 
hold an earlier election. 

In Congress 

The adjournment of the Assembly was soon followed by 
the inauguration of the Whig President who invited Judge 
Badger to take a place in the Cabinet as Secretary of the 
Navy. Such was one of the first fruits of the national 
victory, and the Whigs were enthusiastic. Already in the 
State they had replaced Democratic judges, solicitors and 
other officers with their own political associates, and their 
spirits were high, for now, with a Whig Congress and 
President, they would undo the Jackson measures which 



WHIG POLICIES 


427 


they had denounced as so harmful to the country, and sub¬ 
stitute their own policies. 

The President lost no time in calling a special session of 
Congress to convene in May, and under the new act the 
Governor being empowered to call an election of Represent¬ 
atives, Governor Morehead fixed the date of the election 
May 12. The time was short, the campaign vigorous, the 
Whigs having the ear of the people, and the result was fa¬ 
vorable to the administration, only five Democrats being- 
chosen, among whom was Judge Saunders who now entered 
national politics. 

But there was trouble in store for the administration. 
On April 4, 1841, when in office but one month, President 
Harrison died, and Vice-President John Tyler succeeded 
him. Congress now prepared to carry out the Whig meas¬ 
ures founded on Clay’s principles. The proceeds of the 
public lands were to be divided among the states: the Sub- 
Treasury act of Van Buren’s administration was repealed, 
and a bankruptcy act was passed, and to these President 
Tyler assented. 

In the opinion of some of the Whig leaders the most im¬ 
portant of all the measures of the time was the establishment 
of a national currency that would pass at par in every part of 
the Union. This was of particular interest to North Carolina, 
for our banks had suspended specie payments and there 
was much pecuniary distress; now hope arose that the finan¬ 
cial troubles might be remedied. Indeed, the general con¬ 
dition of the country was extremely bad. Some of the 
states had made great debts, chiefly for internal improve¬ 
ments, which they could not pay. Repudiation was urged 
in some of them and, indeed, Mississippi did resort to it. 
Now, however, resumption of specie payments was ex¬ 
pected and sound finances were in view when, without warn¬ 
ing, the Philadelphia successor to the Bank of the United 
States, conducted by Biddle, again suspended payments and 
the bank troubles at once became acute. Such was the sit¬ 
uation in the early days of the session of Congress, when 
Henry Clay addressed himself to the preparation of a new 
bank bill. It passed, but President Tyler deemed such an act 


Tyler 

President 


Bad 

financial 

conditions 



428 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


The Whigs 
revolt 
against 
Tyler 


Two 

divisions of 
Whigs 


Mangum 
president of 
the Senate 


not warranted by the Constitution and vetoed it. Congress 
then passed a modified bill, which he likewise deemed uncon¬ 
stitutional and vetoed. He urged that the subject might be 
left open until the regular session, but those in favor of the 
bank would now brook no opposition. Three days later 
the session closed, amid terrific denunciations of the Presi¬ 
dent; and in November the Cabinet, except Webster, 
resigned. 

There was, however, much diversity of opinion among 
the Whigs on the subject of the bank as on other subjects. 
They had consolidated in opposition to the Van Buren ad¬ 
ministration but widely differed among themselves on other 
subjects; in every state there being similar divisions. In 
North Carolina, Gaston, Badger and Graham stood with 
Clay as “Federal Whigs”—Mangum, Owen and Dudley 
were “Republican Whigs.” Governor Morehead was strong 
for states’ rights, but was a mere Whig without any addi¬ 
tions, and, indeed, whenever they had to encounter the com¬ 
mon adversary, Whig leaders submerged their differences 
and stood solidly together. In particular it is to be men¬ 
tioned that Mangum, who had not been devoted to Whig 
Federal policies, now in the Senate, took such strong 
ground against the President that he rose to a high place 
in the esteem of the Whig Senators, and in May, 1842, he 
was chosen President pro tern of the Senate, occupying the 
position of Vice-President, so in case of a vacancy in the 
Presidency he would have succeeded to that office; and, re¬ 
markable as it is, in February, 1844, President Tyler es¬ 
caped death by only a few moments when two of his Cabinet 
were killed by an explosion on the Princeton in February, 
1844. 


Morehead and Henry 

With the opening of the new year, the Democrats held 
a convention at which rallying speeches were made bv 
W. W. Avery, Thomas Bragg, David S. Reid, John W. El¬ 
lis and Louis D. Henry. The latter was presented as the 
candidate for governor, while three of the others after¬ 
wards became governors. Three months later, the Whigs 




MO REHEAD AND HENRY 


429 


met in convention and nominated Henry Clay for President, 
Morehead being their choice for Governor. 

Already Henry had entered on his campaign, and now 
Morehead announced his own appointments. The canvass 
chiefly involved matters of Federal concern. Henry’s health 
was poor and he made the western circuit in hopes of being 
benefited. On May 20, his followers had a grand rally at 
Salisbury, where many of the western leaders assembled and 
delivered addresses. 

At length Morehead and Henry met at Fayetteville in 
joint debate, the Governor opening and speaking three times, 
and Henry twice. They each occupied over five hours, the 
debate lasting ten hours and a half, and the candidates in¬ 
dulging in charges and counter charges. In particular 
Morehead adverted to Henry’s inconsistencies, saying that 
in Henry’s letter of acceptance he had spoken of debts for 
internal improvements, as gambling debts created for the 
prosecution of wild schemes’of improvement, whereas Henry 
himself had favored borrowing five millions of dollars for 
State improvements and favored that the State should take 
two-fifths of the stock, where individuals would take three- 
fifths ; and in certain great works Henry had even favored 
that the State should take all the stock. Henry affirmed that 
he still stood with the recommendations of the Internal Im¬ 
provement Convention of December, 1833. 

Morehead did not then develop what he himself stood 
for, but in his message when the Assembly, opened he said: 
“I would recommend that whatever schemes of expenditure 
you may embark in, that you keep within the means at the 
command of the State; otherwise the people must be taxed 
more heavily or the State must contract a loan. The pres¬ 
sure of the times forbids the former, the tarnished honor 
of some of the states should make us, for the present, de¬ 
cline the latter.” If Henry had inveighed against wild 
schemes, certainly Morehead did not approve of them; and it 
seems as if there were no great differences between the can¬ 
didates on that subject. But on Federal matters the differ¬ 
ence was patent. 


1842 


The joint 
debate 



43 ° 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


Petition for 
dissolution 
of the Union 


1842 


Democrats 
carry the 
Assembly 


Aug. 1842 


Mangum 


Dickens 


The special session of Congress ending in September was 
closely followed by the regular session in December, the 
Whig leaders in violent opposition to the President. 

With the opening of the year, January 21, John Quincy 
Adams brought the slavery question again to the front in 
Congress by presenting a petition signed by some of his 
Massachusetts constituents, praying for a dissolution of the 
Union because they could not abolish slavery. That and the 
attendant circumstances raised a commotion that doubtless 
had some political effect on the ensuing campaign. 

For ten years the compromise tariff policy had been ob¬ 
served. Now, however, the needs of the treasury required 
increased revenue, while the Clay Act to distribute the pro¬ 
ceeds of the public lands among the states cut off that 
source of supply. After months of heated discussion a 
tariff act was passed, which the President vetoed on June 29, 
and this, too, had its resultant influence on the country. 

Such were the conditions during the political campaign, 
when State affairs received but slight attention and Federal 
matters were deemed of the highest consideration. More- 
head’s campaign was vigorous and he was aided by all of 
the Whig leaders, but while the Democrats generally were 
equally active, Henry was forced by ill health to abandon 
the field. The trend was against the Whigs; however, at 
the election Morehead won by 3,532 majority, his vote be- 
ing 6,500 fewer than he received two years earlier, and 
Henry polling 1,500 fewer than Saunders. Now, however, 
the Democrats elected both branches of the Assembly. The 
adverse decision of the people was a great blow to the Whig 
leaders, but Governor Morehead’s retention still gave them 
hope that they could hold the State for Henry Clay. 

The session of Congress beginning December 6, 1841, 
lasted until August 31, 1842, and on May 4, 1842, Mangum 
became President of the Senate which he continued to be 
until March, 1845. While he presided, Asbury Dickens, also 
of North Carolina, was secretary of the Senate. Dickens 
was elected in December, 1836 and continually thereafter, 
until July, 1861. 



DEMOCRATS IN CONTROL 


43 i 


On February 23, 1842, Lewis Williams, who had been the 
representative of the Surry district continuously since 18th 
of March, 1815, died at Washington, his remains being in¬ 
terred at Panther Creek. His service of 27 years had not 
been exceeded, and he was called “The Father of the House.” 
Only 56 years of age he was still in the prime of his man¬ 
hood, and ranked high among the members. At a special 
election Anderson Mitchell of Wilkesboro was elected his 
successor. Congress had revised the representation in the 
House, according to the census of 1840, and North Carolina 
under the new act lost four representatives, having only 
nine instead of thirteen. Since the last Assembly, Governor 
John Owen, William B. Meares, Edmund Jones and Doctor 
McPheeters, all men of great excellence and superior char¬ 
acteristics, had passed away. 

The Legislature 

When the Assembly met November 21, 1842, the Demo¬ 
crats had a considerable majority. Wilson and Joyner were 
again contestants for Speaker of the Senate, and Wilson 
was chosen by ten majority. In the House Calvin Graves 
of Caswell was elected over Daniel M. Barringer of Ca¬ 
barrus by sixteen majority. While the territory within 
fifty miles of each railroad line had shown marked improve¬ 
ment yet the previous cessation of business, the stagnation 
of the entire country, had had a disastrous effect on the 
earnings of the railroads. Governor Morehead in his mes¬ 
sage mentioned that under previous legislation, the State had 
endorsed for the Raleigh and Gaston $800,000; and for the 
Wilmington and Weldon $250,000, and was a stockholder to 
the amount of $600,000. They were both embarrassed, and 
their affairs needed attention. He recommended the con¬ 
struction of a line from Gaston to Weldon, connecting 
Raleigh directly with the roads at Weldon. He inveighed 
heavily against improvident debts and repudiation. He 
urged turnpikes to be built to the west, and particularly a 
west turnpike from Raleigh, which should also be extended 
east to Goldsboro. On all matters of public concern, the 
message was progressive, strong and forcible. 


Williams 


Loss of 
represen¬ 
tatives 


Deaths 


1842 


Morehead 

urges 

turnpikes 



4 32 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


The public 
schools 


Graham 


The financial condition had so far improved that the banks 
had resumed specie payments. The State Bank proposed to 
wind up and this attitude of the private stockholders awoke 
a strong resentment among the members of the Assembly; 
but the trouble blew over and no action was taken. The 
bank continued in business. 

The school law had now been in operation about two 
years, and the disbursements by the Literary Fund for 
schools in 1842 had reached $65,277, being twice as much 
as for 1841. By the census taken in 1840, based on the 
statistics of the previous year, North Carolina had in 
attendance on all schools 19,453 pupils, and in common 
schools 14,937. The system of public education was then 
in its infancy. Three new counties had come into it in 
1842, and now the Legislature amended the school law, re¬ 
quiring the polls to be opened at the next election in every 
county that had not entered the system, and again submit¬ 
ting the matter to the people. Year by year progress was 
made until the next census showed over 104,000 children in 
the public schools. 

New legislation 

There was now no demand for new railroad building, and, 
indeed, only little for turnpikes. But as recommended by the 
Governor, the terminus of the Raleigh and Gaston road 
was eventually moved to Weldon, some fifteen miles east 
of Gaston. The Nantahala turnpike was chartered to be 
along the “State road,” in Macon County. The Legislature 
yielded to the wishes of the people interested and estab¬ 
lished the new counties of Union, Catawba and McDowell. 
It apportioned the representatives anew, and laid off the 
counties into fifty senatorial, eleven electoral, and nine con¬ 
gressional districts. It incorporated ten academies, and sev¬ 
eral insurance companies and manufacturing companies. 
There was much discussion over the railroads that were in 
such trouble, but while no important action was taken the 
wishes of the companies were acceded to. 

William A. Graham had been elected to the Senate to re¬ 
place Judge Strange. Senator Graham greatly impressed 



DEADLOCK BROKEN 


4 33 


himself on the public men at Washington and was active in 
matters pertaining to North Carolina. He urged the gov¬ 
ernment to make a survey of a canal across the banks for an 
entrance into the sound, which was done by army engineers; 
and in 1842, a bill was passed to erect a United States ma¬ 
rine hospital near Ocracoke because of the large number of 
seamen engaged in commerce passing into the sound; but 
if the department erected the hospital it does not seem to 
have been maintained. Senator Graham’s term would ex¬ 
pire March 3, 1843. To fill the vacancy an election was 
had. Judge Strange had returned to the practice of law and 
was solicitor of his district. He did not seek a reelection, 
Bedford Brown, who had been “instructed out” by the 
Whigs along with Strange, was a candidate. But Judge 
Saunders, who now was in the House, desired to go up 
higher, and he also stood. Neither of the aspirants would 
retire, and for eighteen days the balloting continued with no 
change; the Whigs voted for Graham. At length, Thomas 
Bragg, tired of such a display, proposed the name of the 
late Speaker, William H. Haywood. Haywood was not in 
Raleigh, but absent in a distant part of the State. Bragg’s 
suggestion found favor; and after a few more fruitless bal- 
lotings both Brown and Saunders withdrew, and Haywood 
was elected by the Democrats. When notified of his elec¬ 
tion he wrote a letter of acceptance; which after a month, 
on the day before adjournment, the Speakers presented to 
the Legislature. Under the circumstances it was a very 
singular document. He declared that he was a Democrat 
and a party-man; but strongly urged that party policies or 
tactics should not extend to every question or matter. He 
declared that, he “dare not surrender the State to party.” 
This unusual discussion of such subjects in a letter of ac¬ 
ceptance seemed to indicate that coming events sometimes 
cast their shadows before. When the election of a Senator 
was first taken up, on December 17, a set of resolves was 
introduced declaring the right of instruction; that the State 
will never consent to a protective tarifif; and denouncing the 
tariff law that Congress had just passed, with such pro¬ 
visions in it as to meet with the approval of the President, 


The 

unavailing 

contest 


Haywood 

elected 


Haywood’s 

Letter 


House 

Journal, 592 


28 



434 


THE GREAT CAMPAIGN 


Morehead’s 

message 


Confla¬ 

grations 


Chronicles 
of the Cape 
Fear, 230 


and which indeed remained unchanged for the next four 
years. The resolutions also voiced the disapproval of the 
bankrupt bill, and demanded the return to Gen. Andrew 
Jackson of the fine imposed on him at New Orleans. These 
resolutions after being before the House more than a month, 
and fought at every step with great zeal by the Whigs, 
eventually passed the House by 65 to 37 on January 24. 

The session at length ended, long drawn out by the fili¬ 
buster of the Whigs. The financial situation was such that 
nothing could reasonably be done but to ease matters along 
until more favorable conditions. Governor Morehead’s 
message attracted much attention out of the State and won 
praise for his sterling statesmanship. Particularly, his ar¬ 
raignment of those who rush into debt and tarnish the 
honor of their states was applauded, and the Richmond 
Whig took a wider view. Its comment was: “Upon the 
whole we must say that the government of North Carolina 
is obviously in a most undemocratic state. It is not in 
confusion ; it is not in debt; its moneyed institutions are some¬ 
what more than so-called. Its public honor seems unshaken, 
the authority of its laws gently but firmly maintained over 
an orderly and moral people,” etc. Such was Whig com¬ 
mendation based on the reelection of Morehead and admira¬ 
tion of his message. Governor Morehead mentioned that 
“portions of our State have been visited with affliction and 
with physical causes destructive to the hopes and labors of 
the husbandman,” and besides, the State had suffered from 
fires. Among the notable conflagrations were several suc¬ 
cessive ones at Wilmington. In 1840 the Courthouse Square 
and other squares were destroyed; and in April, 1843, a 
great conflagration swept away a large part .of the town, 
including the railroad shops and warehouses. Indeed this 
fire was a terrible blow to the Wilmington and Weldon Rail¬ 
road Company then suffering from an accumulation of 
debt. Colonel Cowan in after years referring to this fire, 
said: “When your offices, your warehouses, and your work 
shops, and all of your machinery, which was not then in 
actual use, were laid in ruins by the terrible fire of 1843; 
when a heap of smouldering embers marked the spot where 
all of your possessions in Wilmington had stood, when your 



WILMINGTON REBUILT 


435 


most ardent friends had begun to despair, when your own 
merchants had refused to credit you, when your long- 
sinking credit was at last destroyed and your failure seemed 
inevitable, Governor Dudley came forward and pledged 
the whole of his private estate,” and saved you. As de¬ 
structive as these fires were, the enterprising citizens soon 
rebuilt the town. Reference is made to these two fires 
by Sir Charles Lyell, the famous geologist who was in 
Wilmington in December, 1841, January, 1842, and again 
in December, 1845. Writing during his last visit, he said: 
“The streets which had just been laid in ashes, when we 
were here four years ago, are now rebuilt, but there has 
been another fire this year.” 


Dudley’s 

action 


Chronicles 
of the 
Cape Fear 
144 



CHAPTER XXVII 


Chronicles 
of the Cape 
Fear, 521 


Holden 


The Whigs in Control 

W. W. Holden editor.—Congressional election.—Death of Gas¬ 
ton.—Judges Nash and Caldwell.—Calhoun Secretary of State. 
—Annexation of Texas.—Clay’s tour.—Enthusiastic meetings.— 
His Raleigh letter.—Clay and Polk.—The iState conventions.—- 
Graham and Hoke.—Graham elected.—Hoke dies.—The tariff 
ignored.—Polk elected.—The Assembly.—The railroads.—The 
Governor authorized to purchase Raleigh and Gaston Railroad.— 
The schools.—Proposition to divide the State.—To establish a 
penitentiary.—School for deaf and blind.—The Democratic 
opinion as to internal improvements.—Goldsboro.—Wheeler’s 
History.—State flag.—The Cherokees.—Morehead.—A railroad 
west of Raleigh impracticable.—Texas annexed.—Dobbin in Con¬ 
gress.—Death of Cherry.—Saunders minister to Spain.—McKay’s 
tariff.—Haywood resigns. 

The Standard 

Loring had been the editor of the People's Press at Wil¬ 
mington, but had moved to Raleigh. He was a man of 
“great energy, perseverance, marked ability, and had a 
thorough familiarity with political history.” He was editor 
of the Standard. At this session he differed with some of 
the leading Democrats on the matter of the State banks, and 
proposed to retire as editor of the Standard. 

In May, 1843, William W. Holden was employed to suc¬ 
ceed him. Loring then returned to Wilmington where he 
continued in the newspaper business many years. The ad¬ 
vent of Holden as the editor of the Standard marked an 
epoch in the State press. Holden had been a poor boy at 
Hillsboro, employed in the office of the Hillsboro Recorder, 
and, while imbibing Whig doctrines, he had likewise nat¬ 
urally fostered an aversion to Whig aristocracy and was in¬ 
clined to a broader democracy. However, locating in 
Raleigh he found employment on Lemay’s Star, the organ 
of the Republican Whigs, as the Register was the organ of 
the Federal Whigs. When he assumed the editorship of the 
Standard, the Whigs jeered; but the Democrats had nothing 


CLINGMAN ENTERS POLITICS 


437 


to regret. The Standard became the most important polit¬ 
ical factor in the State and for two decades wielded a great 
power in party matters. 

In the new arrangement of the congressional districts, nine 
districts instead of thirteen, the Democrats had the advan¬ 
tage, Arrington of Nash, Daniel of Halifax, McKay of 
Bladen, Reid of Rockingham and Judge Saunders of Wake 
being elected; while Rayner of Bertie, Deberry of Mont¬ 
gomery, Barringer of Cabarrus and Thomas L. Clingman of 
Buncombe were the Whig members. This was the en¬ 
trance into Federal politics of Clingman, a man of unusual 
mental powers, who was destined to exert a great influence 
in the western part of the State. Abraham W. Rencher of 
Chatham, a man of unusual powers and fine characteristics, 
who had served four terms in Congress, was now appointed 
Charge d’Afifaires at Portugal where he acceptably repre¬ 
sented our government for four years; and ten years later, 
he served as Governor of New Mexico from 1857 to 1861. 

The congressional elections throughout the Union were 
favorable to the Democrats, and John W. Jones, a Demo¬ 
cratic Representative from Virginia, was elected Speaker of 
the House in December, 1843. 

Death of Gaston 

Judge Gaston when in Raleigh occupied a detached build¬ 
ing on the premises of his adopted sister, Mrs. Fauntleroy 
Taylor, at the corner of Hargett and Salisbury streets. The 
Supreme Court being in session on the 23d of January, 
1844, he occupied his seat on the bench and listened to an 
argument in a case until near the hour of adjournment, when 
from a sudden attack he became faint and was taken to his 
room. He revived during the evening and entertained 
friends who called to see him. He told of a party he had 
attended at Washington when one of the guests, a public 
man, avowed himself a free thinker in religion; and he 
added: “A belief in an all-ruling Divinity, who shapes our 
ends, whose eye is upon us, and who will reward us accord¬ 
ing to our deeds is necessary. We must believe and feel 
that there is a God, all-wise and almighty.” He rose to 


1843 


January, 

1844 



43§ 


THE WHIGS IN CONTROL 


’ Morehead’s 
message 


Annexation 
of Texas 


give emphasis to these words. There came a rush of blood 
and he fell back and expired. Such was the passing away of 
a man whose life was of singular purity and who stood first 
in the estimation of his fellow citizens in the ideals of noble 
manhood. His body lay in the parlor of Mrs. Taylor, ad¬ 
joining which was the conservatory. When the funeral 
rites were being held, the door of the conservatory was 
opened, warm, moist air came into the cold death cham¬ 
ber, and presently snow began falling on the remains and on 
those assembled around the bier. 

Governor Morehead and his Council appointed Judge 
Frederick Nash to the vacant place on the Supreme Court; 
and David F. Caldwell of Salisbury to replace Judge Nash 
on the Superior Court. 

Governor Morehead urged the distribution of the pro¬ 
ceeds of the public lands, pointing out the great benefit 
North Carolina’s share in the distribution made in Jackson’s 
time had been to the State. But the Democrats adhered to 
their policy against it, and so this Whig proposition, so ap¬ 
pealing to popular sentiment, continued for decades to 
bother Democratic leaders and to imperil their party 
organization. 

On February 28, 1844, by an explosion on the Princeton, 
Upshaw, Secretary of State was killed; and John C. Cal¬ 
houn succeeded him in the Cabinet. Texas had gained her 
independence from Mexico in 1836, and had been recognized 
as an independent sovereign state, both by the United States 
and Great Britain, and for eight years had been under a 
government similar to that of the United States. She had 
early applied for annexation to this country; but her wishes 
had not been assented to. Now, President Tyler being ap¬ 
prehensive lest she might seek annexation to Great Britain, 
made a treaty of annexation with her which he submitted to 
the Senate in April, 1844. The Senate committee, however, 
held the treaty up some time without action. 

In the meantime Clay made a tour of the South. On Feb¬ 
ruary 23, he was at New Orleans. He visited Mobile, 
Montgomery, Macon, Charleston and intermediate towns; 
everywhere his journey was similar to a triumphal proces¬ 
sion. A large committee went from Wilmington to Charles- 




HENRY CLAY IN RALEIGH 


439 


ton to accompany him to North Carolina. They returned 
with him on the steamer Gladiator, and he received a great 
ovation. The Whigs of the Cape Fear turned out en 
masse to welcome him. He left on the train for Raleigh; 
and on April 12, some ten thousand Whigs received him. 
He was the guest of Governor Morehead at the Governor’s 
Mansion; and in the morning, a great procession, headed by 
an open landau, drawn by four gray horses, in which were 
the Governor and Clay, conveyed him to the Capitol. The 
great crowd was entirely enthusiastic. One of the incidents 
was the presentation of a silk vest made for him by a Gran¬ 
ville County lady. 

He remained at Raleigh some five days, and while there 
he felt it necessary to write a letter explaining his position 
on the proposed annexation of Texas. It was a long and 
well-considered letter. He declared that “annexation and 
war with Mexico are identical.” He considered it as a 
measure “compromising the national character, involving 
the United States in war certainly with Mexico, probably 
with other foreign powers, dangerous to the integrity of the 
Union; inexpedient in the financial condition of the country, 
and not called for by any general expression of public 
opinion.” 

Later Stephen F. Miller, earlier of New Bern but then an 
editor in Alabama, addressed him an inquiry as to this letter, 
and he replied that he had no personal objection to the annex¬ 
ation of Texas, and, indeed, would be glad to see it without 
dishonor. “I do not think that the subject of slavery ought 
to afifect the question one way or the other.” 

A fortnight later, on May 1, the Whig convention met at 
Baltimore and declared against the annexation of Texas and 
unanimously nominated Clay for the presidency, and event¬ 
ually selected Frelinghuysen as his running mate. On the 
27th of May, the Democratic convention was likewise held 
at Baltimore. One of the most active of the delegates was 
Judge Saunders. He called the convention to order, and at 
once introduced the two-thirds rule, a rule that had in 1832 
been adopted to secure the nomination of Van Buren for the 
vice-presidency. Now, the object in bringing it forward 


1844 


Clay’s tour 


Konkle: 

Morehead, 

269 


Clay’s letter 


Sargeant’s 
Clay, 227 


The two- 
thirds rule 



440 


THE WHIGS IN CONTROL 


Polk 

nominated 


was to prevent Van Buren from-being nominated for the 
presidency. Van Buren had already been defeated by Harri¬ 
son; and besides he was against the annexation of Texas be¬ 
cause that was deemed favorable to slavery and to the 
power of the slave states; and Van Buren was much of an 
abolitionist. Van Buren’s manager, B. F. Butler of New 
York, protested and protested, but Saunders carried his 
point by a vote of 148 to 118. Because of the settled op¬ 
position to Van Buren, that rule virtually eliminated him, al¬ 
though he continued to get some votes from the North 
Carolina delegation and for several ballots received the 
greatest number of votes given to any candidate. 

The North Carolina delegation voted at times for Lewis 
Cass, and finally on the ninth ballot, after a stormy session 
of three days, voted solidly for James K. Polk, who was 
nominated on that ballot. Then George M. Dallas of Penn¬ 
sylvania was nominated for the vice-presidency. Said 
General Jackson on June 14: “Let Texas be the watchword, 
and victory is certain,” for Jackson was still wroth against 
Clay as formerly. Quickly following these conventions in 
June the Senate rejected the treaty of annexation; and the 
issue was made at the polls. 


The campaign 

The Whigs had entered early on the State campaign, hold¬ 
ing their convention at Raleigh on December 8, 1843. 

There was no other thought than that Senator Graham 
should be the standard bearer; the nominee for Governor. 
A week later the Democratic convention nominated Michael 
Hoke as their choice. Both of these candidates were of 
Lincoln County stock, and both were men of superior char¬ 
acter, and finely educated. They were of the highest type 
of manhood, and were alike ornaments to society and ex¬ 
emplars of virtue and honor. A joint campaign was ar¬ 
ranged, but it was interrupted, for Graham was taken des¬ 
perately ill. However, there were some meetings on the 
hustings. Apparently, while Graham was more impressive 
in his delivery, Hoke was more entertaining and raised more 
enthusiasm. Both were entirely courteous. The Whigs 



ELECTION RESULTS 


441 


had a grand rally at Statesville; and Graham, when he was 
able to enter the campaign, devoted himself largely to the 
west, where the Texas fever was not so pronounced as in the 
eastern counties. The result was in some measure answer- 
able to his expectations. He recovered some of the votes 
lost two years before, getting 4,643 more votes than More- 
head then received, but still 1,900 fewer than Morehead got 
in 1840: while Hoke polled 39,433, being 3,530 more than 
Saunders had polled in 1840. Graham’s majority was 
3,153. In the Legislature the House of Commons was 
Whig by twenty majority, but the Senate, when it convened, 
had 25 Democrats and 24 Whigs. 

In September, the State mourned the loss of the gifted 
Hoke, who died from the malaria to which he had been ex¬ 
posed in his canvass: and before the Assembly met three 
members of the House and one Senator had died. 

The presidential campaign was conducted with vigor; 
but the tariff was not an issue and the people were not so 
greatly interested as in former elections. The tariff act 
passed by Congress had relatively small duties on manufac¬ 
tures and no duties on coffee, tea and sugar. It was in some 
aspects free trade, and in other aspects more of a tariff for 
revenue than of protection. 

It worked so satisfactorily that neither Polk nor Clay 
proposed during the campaign to revise it; so the tariff was 
not in the minds of the people; and they did not come to the 
polls as in the gubernatorial contest. The total vote was but 
62,479 as against 82,019. The Clay electors won by 3,381, 
and the Whigs rejoiced. But in the Union the result was 
disastrous to their hopes. The new apportionment had 
altered in some measure the votes of the states in the elec¬ 
toral college; and Clay failed to carry all the states that 
had voted for Harrison. He carried eleven states with 
105 votes. Polk carried all the others with 170 votes. 
General Jackson had his revenge. Birney, the abolition 
candidate received 62,127 votes, which had they been cast 
for Clay would have changed the result, for Polk’s popular 
vote was only 38,200 more than Clay’s. And indeed, the 
Whigs charged that New York had been carried by the 


1844 


Graham 

elected 


Hoke’s 

death 


The tariff 


Clay’s 

failure 


Sargeant’s 
Clay, 247 



44 2 


THE WHIGS IN CONTROL 


Democrats by fraudulent votes; and had the thirty-six votes 
of that state been cast for Clay he would have been elected. 


The 

railroads 


Other im¬ 
provements 
recom¬ 
mended 


Tlie Assembly 

When the Assembly met, while the Democrats had 25 
members and the Whigs but 24, yet, as Wilson, the Demo¬ 
cratic nominee for Speaker, would not vote for himself, the 
Democrats were unable to elect the Speaker and organize 
the body. After three days fruitless balloting, on the 
fourth day, the Democrats nominated Burgess S. Gaither 
of Burke, a moderate Whig, who received 40 votes, the 
Whigs offering no opposition. In the House, Edward 
Stanly of Beaufort received 68 votes and Calvin Graves 
48. Governor Morehead’s message dealt very intelligently 
with the embarrassments of the State Treasury because of 
the action of the previous Legislature to aid the railroads, 
and with the condition of the railroads themselves. The roads 
were embarrassed because of the indebtedness incurred in 
their construction. The cost of the Wilmington and 
Weldon was $2,000,000, while the stock paid in was only 
$1,350,000; the cost of the Raleigh and Gaston was $1,500,- 
000 while only $650,000 had been paid in on stock. The 
State had endorsed the bonds of the Raleigh and Gaston 
to the amount of $800,000 and in addition to taking $600,- 
000 of stock in the Wilmington and Weldon had endorsed 
its bonds to the amount of $300,000. Hampered with these 
debts and the interest, the roads found difficulty in paying 
running expenses. With regard to the Wilmington and 
Weldon, Governor Morehead said: “It is believed from the 
success attending the operations of this road, notwithstand¬ 
ing its heavy losses by fire and sea (two steamships having 
collided at sea) that if indulged for a few years, it will be 
able to meet all its liabilities, and extricate itself from debt 
and appreciate the value of its stock.” But the condition of 
the Raleigh and Gaston was hopeless. A bill in equity had 
already been filed to appoint a receiver of its property; and 
it was believed that its receipts for years would not suffice 
to pay interest and keep the road in operation. The Gov¬ 
ernor suggested a sale under the mortgage, and in order to 



COMMON SCHOOL SYSTEM 


443 


increase receipts, to build the Weldon road and construct a 
turnpike from Raleigh to the west. These two improve¬ 
ments he thought would add to the business of the road. 
In their embarrassments the North Carolina railroads were 
not alone. The Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad was in 
similar distress, and that part of its line within this State 
had been sold for debt and the purchaser had taken up its 
rails. 

With regard to further improvements, he urged that some 
locks and dams should be constructed on the Cape Fear and 
that the Neuse be made navigable; that a ship canal be cut 
from Pamlico Sound to Beaufort; and a ship channel be 
opened at Nags Head. 

He urged a turnpike from Fayetteville to the Yadkin, and 
a turnpike or railroad from the end of navigation on the 
Neuse westward and likewise, similar transportation facili¬ 
ties from the Tar and Roanoke. 

The common schools system had appealed to the people. 
It had awakened an interest in every part of the State. 
Only two counties had not voted for it and the State had 
distributed in 1844 $92,027. But the Governor was not 
satisfied with its efficiency and recommended an adjunct 
similar to that originally proposed by Dr. Fred Hill and 
later by others: “The appointment of a State agent, well 
versed in the subject of common schools, to travel over the 
State, visit the counties, advise and direct the county super¬ 
intendents and school committees and awake interest in pop¬ 
ular education.” He urged that action should be taken for 
the building of asylums for the afflicted and for the insane 
and that a penitentiary be established. 

The appointments made by the Governor and Council to 
the Supreme and Superior courts were received with favor 
by the Assembly, and the appointees elected. A joint com¬ 
mittee was raised to make a report on the death of Judge 
Gaston, and the committee reported on December 31. The 
two houses considered the report on that day and adopted 
resolutions expressive of the sense of the Assembly at the 
loss to the State of that eminent citizen. 

A resolution offered in the House by Atkins that Texas 
ought to be annexed was rejected by a vote of 49 to 60; 


House 

Journal, 418 


The schools 


House 

Journal, 


421 


December, 

1844 


House 

Journal 

634 


Ibid., 538 




444 


THE WHIGS IN CONTROL 


1844-45 


Ibid., 251 


A new 
State 


Ibid., 842 


Raleigh and 
Gaston R. R. 


and a resolution offered by the Whigs to request the Sena¬ 
tors and Representatives to urge a distribution of the 
fourth installment of the surplus revenue derived from 
public lands passed the Senate by the casting vote of the 
Speaker on January i, and the House by 65 to 49. Proposi¬ 
tions to incorporate the counties of Jefferson, Gaston and 
Graham were defeated, and a resolution offered by Francis, 
the Senator from Haywood, to take the sense of the people 
of Western North Carolina on the subject of a cession of ter¬ 
ritory for a new state was laid on the table. A proposition to 
establish a penitentiary by taxation was submitted to the 
popular vote. A bill to appropriate $5,000 for teaching 
the deaf mutes and blind was passed. Such was the be¬ 
ginning of the institution for that purpose. It was carried 
in the Senate by the casting vote of the Speaker. A bill 
was introduced to consolidate the school laws. The school 
age in the bill was put at four years. Mr. Shepard moved 
to amend by providing for a general superintendent, but this 
failed by a large vote, the Democrats being in opposition. 
The bill, itself, however, passed with only two votes in the 
negative—western members. The recommendations of the 
Governor relative to internal improvements and providing 
•to meet the conditions of the two railroads led to a royal 
battle between the parties. The proposition to lay off and 
established a turnpike road from Raleigh to the Buncombe 
turnpike failed in the Senate by six votes, but the Assembly 
authorized the Governor to have a survey made of a turn¬ 
pike from Raleigh west to the Buncombe turnpike and then 
on to the Georgia state line, and a survey made for a road 
from Fayetteville to some point on this road near the 
Yadkin. 

Democratic conservatism 

When the bill to foreclose the mortgage of the Raleigh 
and Gaston Railroad came up, every Democrat in the Senate 
voted against it, but the casting vote of the Speaker passed 
it. The Democrats proposed an amendment declaring it 
to be the opinion of the Legislature that the members of the 
Legislature of 1838 who passed the bill to endorse the 



ECHO OF MACON’S PHILOSOPHY 


445 


$500,000 bonds of that road are responsible for the State’s 
loss and that received twenty-two Democratic votes. That 
being defeated, a second amendment was offered that the 
members of the Legislature of 1840 who voted to endorse 
the additional $300,000 were responsible for the State’s 
loss, and that received twenty Democratic votes. As drawn, 
the bill directed the Governor to bid not exceeding $300,000 
on the sale of the road, and if he purchased it for the State, 
to appoint directors to manage it and to operate the road. 
The bill then passed the Senate 24 to 24, the Speaker giving 
the casting vote. Although Mr. Macon was now dead, his 
political philosophy found an echo in these propositions. 

The conditions of the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad 
Company were not so bad. It needed only further time. 
The House passed a bill allowing that company to issue 
$100,000 bonds to replace the same amount of bonds there¬ 
tofore issued. The Democrats in the Senate stubbornlv 

■S 

opposed the proposition and offered amendments making the 
stockholders personally liable for the indebtedness of the 
company. But the bill finally passed 24 to 24, with the 
Speaker voting for its passage. The two sections of the 
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad met at a point near 
Waynesboro, and a station was located there named Golds¬ 
boro, after one of the engineers who constructed the road. 
It was now provided that the county seat of Wayne County 
might be moved to Goldsboro if the people of the county 
should vote for the change. 

The previous Legislature had elected John H. Wheeler, 
State Treasurer. He had been superintendent of the mint 
at Charlotte and was the choice of his party for Treasurer, 
but this Assembly being of a different political complexion, 
he was succeeded by Mr. Hinton, who had been his prede¬ 
cessor. Colonel Wheeler now devoted himself to the prep¬ 
aration of a history of the State and produced a most 
valuable volume that appeared in 1851, the first attempt 
by any North Carolinian to collate facts relating to the 
counties. 

Some eight academies were incorporated, and there being 
a military academy at Raleigh, the Legislature allowed the 
cadets to be equipped with the material, guns, etc., in the 


Senate 
Journal, 163 


Ibid., 274 


Ibid., 259 


Goldsboro 


Wheeler’s 

History 



446 


THE WHIGS IN CONTROL 


State flag 


The 

Cherokees 


Governor 

Graham 


Richardson, 
IV, 345 


State Arsenal, and then a similar bill was passed in regard 
to the students at the Raleigh Academy. A resolution was 
passed for the Governor to procure a State flag, which was 
to bear the arms of North Carolina. 

“As the Cherokee Indians in the State are conducting 
themselves in an orderly manner under the influence of tem¬ 
perance and religious societies, and are improving in the 
mechanic arts, agriculture and civilization and those in the 
town of Qualla and other towns are beginning the manu¬ 
facture of silk” they were encouraged by having the pro¬ 
visions of the act of 1836 extended to them. 

On January 1, Governor William A. Graham appeared in 
the Common Hall, where the Senate had likewise assem¬ 
bled, and having delivered an inaugural, took the oaths of 
office and qualified as Governor. His inaugural, the first de¬ 
livered by any Governor, received many compliments and 
the Assembly ordered that it be printed. Governor Graham 
brought to his office full information of State affairs, a clear 
mind, fine talents and a purity of purpose that ranked him 
among the foremost men of the State. The session ended 
on January 16, and the Whigs had cause to congratulate 
themselves on having carried through virtually all of their 
propositions, but the unfortunate condition of the two rail¬ 
ways in the State had prevented any effort to build others, 
and the only hope of the time was to construct turnpikes 
westward. Indeed, Governor Morehead by a personal ex¬ 
amination‘of the country between Raleigh and Greensboro 
had concluded that it was impracticable to construct a rail¬ 
road in that region. 

I11 Congress; Texas annexed 

While the Assembly was in session, Congress met and on 
December 3, President Tyler in his message dwelt on the 
great question of the campaign just ended, the annexation 
of Texas. He said that the matter had been determined 
by the election, a majority of the states and of the people 
having voted for annexation, and he urged that a resolution 
should be passed accepting it. A bill was introduced in the 
Senate by Senator Haywood providing for annexation, but 



ANNEXATION OF TEXAS 


44 7 


it failed. Later, a resolution was introduced in the House 
of Representatives. It provided that new states might be 
made out of the territory; those north of 36 degrees 30 min¬ 
utes should be free; those south of that line might be free 
or slave as the people might desire. In the Senate Mangum 
voted against annexation and in the House the Whigs like¬ 
wise voted against it, but it passed at the close of Tyler’s 
administration, and he at once dispatched a messenger to 
give effect to it in Texas. The great contest was ended. 

The congressional contest of 1845 was notable, since it 
was the beginning of district conventions for the nomina¬ 
tion of congressional candidates. Saunders had been in 
hope of being invited to take a Cabinet position and being 
disappointed, would not ask to be returned to Congress. 
He was succeeded by James C. Dobbin of Fayetteville, a 
man of fine talents and of the highest personal character. 
The brilliant and eloquent W. W. Cherry had been nomi¬ 
nated in the Albemarle district, but died during the cam¬ 
paign, much regretted. He was thought to be the finest 
orator in the State of his generation. Asa Biggs, Democrat, 
was elected in that district so the Democrats gained a mem¬ 
ber. Jonathan Worth ran in his district but Alfred Dockery 
contested the field with him and won. 

As North Carolina had not voted for Polk, the President 
doubtless felt that Cabinet positions should be awarded to 
other states, but he appointed Judge Saunders Minister to 
Spain and, during the four years of Judge Saunders’s service 
in Spain, he negotiated a treaty for the purchase of Cuba, 
the price being $100,000,000, but when the negotiations be¬ 
came public the offer was rejected. 

The McKay tariff 

In 1843, James J. McKay, who had long been a Repre¬ 
sentative and was then chairman of the Committee of Ways 
and Means, brought in a bill to revise the tariff, but it failed 
to pass. His report on the subject of the tariff was, how¬ 
ever, widely distributed, and had a great effect in consoli¬ 
dating Democratic opinion on the subject. It was a very 
able exposition of the tariff. In Polk’s inaugural he had 


1845 


Public men 


Saunders 
seeks to buy 
Cuba 


Biog. Hist., 
Ill, 392 



448 


THE WHIGS IN CONTROL 


Senator 

Haywood 

resigns 


declared that tariffs should be for revenue with incidental 
protection for our industries. At the first session of the 
new Congress, McKay introduced a tariff bill that he and 
Robert J. Walker, the Secretary of the Treasury, had pre¬ 
pared that thus became an administration measure. It 
passed the House but when it came to the Senate its fate 
was doubtful. At the session of the Legislature when 
Senator Haywood was elected, resolutions of instructions 
with regard to the tariff were passed by the Legislature and 
there was no other expectation but that he would vote for 
this Democratic measure. But he felt that he could not 
vote for it and could not properly vote against it. So when 
the vote was being taken on July 24, 1846, he handed to 
the Vice-President his resignation. The vote being a tie, 
the Vice President gave the casting vote, and the bill be¬ 
came a law. Mr. Haywood later published a long address 
to the people of the State, explaining his action, but it did not 
satisfy his Democratic friends. He passed out of public 
life. This McKay Tariff Act was the lowest that had ever 
been enacted since the early years of the government and 
in its effects it was the best ever passed by Congress. It 
was followed by a period of great prosperity, although 
it is true that other circumstances combined to promote the 
fortunate conditions that then existed in this country. So 
well satisfied did the people become with the operations of 
this McKay measure that for fifteen years no effort was 
made to repeal it, and in 1856 no reference was made to the 
tariff by any political party. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 


The Whig Regime 

Purchase of Raleigh and Gaston Railroad.—Graham and Shep¬ 
ard contest for Governor.—War with Mexico.—A regiment called 
for.—Governor Graham calls for volunteers.—The prompt re¬ 
sponse.—The Whigs carry the State and Assembly.—Badger and 
Mangum Senators.—The benefit of the railroads.—Governor Gra¬ 
ham urges road from Raleigh to Fayetteville, then to Charlotte 
and Camden.—All counties in the school system.—National flag 
over Capitol.—Regimental officers.—Morganton Supreme Court.— 
Railroad projects.—The Wilmington and Manchester.—Other in¬ 
corporations.—Gaston, Alexander and Polk counties established. 
—The telegraph company.—Dr. Mitchell’s report.—The route 
from Fayetteville to Salisbury.—Louis D. Wilson.—Lieutenant 
Hoskins.—The congressional districts.—The Albemarle fisheries. 
—The new inlets.—The school for the deaf and dumb.—The North 
Carolina regiment organized and officered.—Payne, Colonel.— 
Hoke’s and Clarke’s companies.—The regiment conveyed to the 
Brazos.—Its hard service.—Payne’s wooden horse.—The soldiers’ 
meeting.—The colonel kills a private.—The officers protest.— 
General Wood acts.—The court-martial.—The war ends.—The 
troops return.—Patriotic reception.—The Whigs successful in 
congressional election. 

Purchase of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad 

Under the act of Assembly proceedings had been instituted 
to foreclose the mortgage on the Raleigh and Gaston Rail¬ 
road, and the property of that company was brought to sale 
on January i, 1846, and purchased by the State at $300,000; 
and Wesley Hollester was appointed president and superin¬ 
tendent and W. W. Vass, treasurer, and the road was there¬ 
after operated by the State. 

Contemporaneously with this sale, early in January, the 
two parties held their conventions for the nomination for 
Governor. The Whigs naturally were unanimous for the 
reelection of Governor Graham. 

Many were the aspirants for the honor of nomination by 
the Democratic convention, but Charles Fisher of Salisbury 
was the favorite. However, he declined to be a candidate, 
and the convention had to look elsewhere. Now, for the 
29 


1846 


Graham and 
Shepard 


450 


THE WHIG REGIME 


1846 


Sprunt 
Mon. 15, 

p. 106 


The election 


first time, the nomination was made by a ballot of the coun¬ 
ties, and Green W. Caldwell was nominated. But he, too, 
later declined because of ill health. 

Walter F. Leak of Richmond County being brought for¬ 
ward in county meetings announced himself, but the Demo¬ 
cratic State Committee announced that James B. Shepard of 
Wake should be the candidate. About the middle of May 
Leak withdrew, but the Democratic party had been handi¬ 
capped by the differences. The Democrats also were thrown 
into some confusion by the action of Senator Haywood in 
regard to the administration tariff bill—and his resignation. 

The war with Mexico 

Because of differences arising from the annexation of 
Texas between this country and Mexico, a state of hostilities 
was declared and in May, 1846, the President made a requi¬ 
sition for one regiment of North Carolina volunteers to 
be enrolled to aid in the prosecution of the war. 

At once Governor Graham issued an order calling for 
volunteers by companies, and with commendable promptness 
more than three times the required number volunteered. 
The companies to be taken were selected by lot, and the regi¬ 
ment was in waiting for organization; but although the 
troops were then sworn in no further steps were taken 
until November. 

It was while the war fever was at its height that the elec¬ 
tion came on. The Democrats were somewhat disheartened 
because of Senator Haywood’s resignation and the family 
troubles over their candidate for Governor, while the Whigs 
were proud of Graham, their Governor. 

Graham gained 1,000 votes over his previous one, and 
Shepard fell behind Hoke nearly 4,000—Graham’s majority 
running up to 7,859; and the Whigs had control of the Leg¬ 
islature, having three majority in the Senate and ten in the 
House. 

Eventually, on November 16, the War Department called 
for one regiment of troops for immediate service, the service 
to continue during the war. These terms being different, 
only one company of the ten that had previously volunteered 



JOYNER AND STANLY SPEAKERS 


451 


accepted them, that of Captain Richard W. Long at Salis¬ 
bury. The others disbanded. Thereupon Governor Graham 
in December called for volunteers under the new terms as 
he had done in May. 

The Assembly 

When the Assembly met, the Speakers elected were 
Joyner in the Senate and Stanly in the House. To succeed 
Senator Haywood, Judge George E. Badger was elected to 
the Senate, the Democrats voting for Asa Biggs; and 
Senator Mangum was reelected to succeed himself, the Dem¬ 
ocratic choice being J. J. McKay, the chairman of the Com¬ 
mittee of Ways and Means of the House. 

Governor Graham, in his admirable address covering all 
the subjects of interest to the State, deprecated the condi¬ 
tions that existed, saying that the State had been afflicted by 
disease to a greater and more fatal extent than usual, and 
had suffered much from drought and failure of crops and